THE LEISURE AND hospitality sector saw some job growth in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December employment report. Not enough, however, according to the U.S. Travel Association, meaning more federal aid is needed.

The sector added 53,000 jobs during the month, according to the BLS data. The overall economy added 199,000 jobs.

“Leisure and hospitality has added 2.6 million jobs in 2021, but employment in the industry is down by 1.2 million, or 7.2 percent, since February 2020,” the report said. “Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 43,000 in December but is down by 653,000 since February 2020.”

However, the report indicates that the recovery is uneven, said Tori Emerson Barnes, USTA’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy, in a statement. December’s performance was the second-worst since January 2021, she said.

“The small gains made are not enough to propel the sector toward a larger recovery, as more than 7 percent of all L&H jobs remain lost compared to just 2 percent for the rest of the U.S. economy,” Barnes said. “As the spread of the omicron variant continues to impact travel, there remains a pressing need for Congress to provide additional federal relief and stabilizing policies that will enable the return of business travel, professional meetings and events, and international inbound travel.”

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