The Covid-19 pandemic has erased more than half of the 15.8 million travel-related jobs in the U.S., according to new data released by the U.S. Travel Association.

The new numbers compiled by research firm Tourism Economics show the industry’s unemployment rate has hit 51% heading into Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer travel season. 

This Memorial Day weekend, Tourism Economics projects that travel spending in the U.S. will total $4.2 billion, or just a third of the $12.3 billion recorded last year. “Our national economy is in a recession, but the travel industry is already in a depression,” said U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow. “Travel-related businesses have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic’s fallout, and unfortunately our workforce is on the front lines of that struggle.”

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