Job losses piling up even faster than anticipated

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Travel-related job losses will hit nearly 6 million by the end of April and the industry will lose $80 million in revenue next month alone, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

The revised projections released Tuesday show 4.7 million direct travel jobs and 5.9 million travel-supported jobs will be lost by the end of next month, up from estimates a week earlier that predicted 4.6 million travel-related jobs were in jeopardy.

The analysis also estimates that travel industry revenue for March and April will be down 78%, with $80 million in lost revenue in April alone.  

“The coronavirus crisis is hitting the travel economy hard, and it’s also hitting fast,” said U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow. “These new figures underscore the extreme urgency of financial relief for travel businesses -- 83% of which are small businesses -- so they can keep paying their employees. Not only are workers suffering right now, but if employers are forced to close their doors, it is unknown when or if those jobs will ever come back.”

Other key findings in the latest analysis: 

• The loss in travel-related jobs alone will more than double the U.S. unemployment rate from 3.5% to 7.1% by the end of April.

• The expected loss of $910 billion in travel-related economic output in 2020 would be seven times the impact of 9/11.

• The predicted slowdown in the travel sector alone will push the U.S. economy into a protracted recession.

U.S. Travel is urging the inclusion of numerous relief measures for travel businesses in the coronavirus rescue package being negotiated in Congress, including access to small-business loans, a workforce stabilization fund to help medium-sized and large travel businesses retain their workers and remain solvent, and tax relief to help mitigate losses.

Travel supports 15.8 million American jobs in total, or employment for one out of every 10 Americans, according to U.S. Travel.

“The health crisis deserves the government’s full attention, but the economic crisis will be worse and longer without aggressive action to confront it right now,” Dow said. “Businesses can’t keep their lights on if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions that are necessary to stem the spread of coronavirus. The resulting closures will take the greatest toll on the frontline employees who can least afford to lose their jobs -- waitstaff, housekeepers, concession workers, etc.

“Robust intervention by the federal government is the only avenue to make sure those outcomes are minimized.”

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