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April 2011, Vol. 134, No. 4
Employment in leisure and hospitality departs from historical trends during 2007–09 recession
Eliot Davila is an economist in the Division of Current Employment Statistics, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the start of the second half of the 20th century till early 2008, employment growth in the leisure and hospitality industry had been interrupted only a few times by short and shallow declines. Industry job losses from the 2007-09 recession, however, were both severe and prolonged, continuing 6 months beyond the end of the recession
Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry 1 fell by 454,000 during the recession which began December 2007 and ended June 2009. 2 Like total U.S. employment, industry job losses did not coincide with those start and end dates. In fact, leisure and hospitality employment reached a cyclical peak in January 2008, 1 month after the start of the recession, and fell to a cyclical trough in January 2010, 7 months after the end of the recession. 3 The industry employment peak coincided with the peak in total nonfarm employment, while the industry employment trough preceded the trough in total nonfarm employment by 1 month.
Compared with the previous 2 recessions, the 2007–09 recession had a sizeable impact on employment in the leisure and hospitality industry. The reduction in jobs during the 2007–09 recession, as a percentage of pre-recession employment, was significantly greater than during the 1990–91 and 2001 recessions. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by more than 2.2 percent on an annualized basis during the 2007–09 recession. By contrast, the annualized decline in employment during both the 1990–91 and 2001 recessions was roughly 0.4 percent.
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1 Consists of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sector 71 (arts, entertainment and recreation) and NAICS sector 72 (accommodation and food services); the leisure and hospitality supersector will be referred to as an “industry” throughout this article.
2 The employment data used in this article are from the BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, a monthly survey of about 140,000 nonfarm businesses and government agencies representing approximately 440,000 individual worksites. For more information on the program’s concepts and methodology, see “Technical Notes to Establishment Survey Data Published in Employment and Earnings,” www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn2.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011). CES data are available at www.bls.gov/ces/ (visited Feb. 17, 2011). The CES data used in this article are seasonally adjusted.
3 Recessions are identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). According to the NBER, the most recent recession began in December 2007 and ended in July 2009. The previous two recessions were from March 2001 to November 2001 and from July 1990 to March 1991. For a complete list of business cycle dates, consult the NBER webpage at www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html (visited Nov. 2, 2010).
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