According to new statistics from the US Department of Labor, the nation’s hotel industry added 700 jobs to payrolls in June 2024 and total hotel employment stands at approximately 1.92m.

The AHLA (American Hotel and Lodging Association) has highlighted that this is 196,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels – a shortfall it believes reflects the scarcity of available employees.

AHLA interim president and CEO Kevin Carey commented: “Halfway through 2024, the hotel industry is behind where it needs to be when it comes to hiring staff, despite near-record high wages and expanding workplace benefits and flexibility.

“The reason is the nationwide workforce shortage, which is preventing hoteliers from meeting their full potential as demand for travel remains strong.”

AHLA is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to expand the workforce by making 65,000 additional H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas available as soon as possible, as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.

The organisation is also insisting that Congress pass The Closing the Workforce Gap Act of 2024, The H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act, and The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act so that hoteliers can maintain and expand their operations.

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Carey concluded: “Both Congress and the administration can provide relief to our members, many of whom are small business owners, and AHLA will continue to call for action to expand the pool of available workers.”

The US is undergoing a presidential election campaign with the winner to be announced in November 2024, heralding further changes to the job market and immigration levels for the hotel industry to navigate.