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Iowa’s 2020 loss of hotel property jobs lower than several neighboring states

Iowa’s hospitality industry lost about 22.4% of its jobs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Hotel & Lodging Association announced in a nationwide report it released May 3.

The losses reported are “direct hotel property jobs,” which include front desk agents and housekeepers. They do not include any job loss from industries the hotel industry supports, such as restaurants, retail, transportation and small business vendors, the report said. The state had 22,467 of these jobs in 2019 and 17,433 in 2020, for a loss of 5,034 jobs.

The jobs count in 2021 as of February is 18,979, according to the report. The association anticipates a loss of 3,488 jobs by the end of 2021 compared with the 2019 figures.

Iowa neighbors Minnesota and Illinois lost approximately 35% of these jobs in the industry while Wisconsin lost 27%, South Dakota lost an estimated 17%, compared  to 25% jobs lost in North Dakota.

Nationally, the industry lost around 29% of these jobs and the association anticipates a loss of another 478,000 jobs by the end of 2021 compared with the 2019 figures.

The association and labor union UNITE HERE are lobbying in support of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, which would provide grants to hotel owners or operators to help with payroll and benefits costs for workers and a personal protective equipment tax credit of 50% of costs associated with purchasing equipment and technology to reduce the impact of the pandemic. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist, D-Fla., introduced the bill.

“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period,” AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers said in a statement. “We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotels retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, begins to come back.”

Iowa’s leisure and hospitality industry overall has gained back 43,500 jobs since April 2020, as of March 2021, according to seasonally adjusted data Iowa Workforce Development released April 16.The industry had held 141,400 jobs in March 2020 before dropping to 78,300 in April 2020. Still, 19,600 jobs have not returned.

“The good news is that Iowa added 15,100 jobs in March, which indicates we continue to recover from the pandemic,” Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said in the April 16 news release. “The largest gains were in construction, manufacturing, and hospitality. It is good news for Iowa that the hospitality industry added over 4,000 jobs since December, as that indicates people are getting out and doing things we took for granted pre-pandemic like visiting our local restaurant or movie theater. I am hopeful this return to normal will continue across all industries and help us return to our usual low unemployment rate.”

The leisure and hospitality industry has added 4,100 jobs since December 2020, mostly within accommodations and food services, according to the release.

This article was originally posted on Iowa’s 2020 loss of hotel property jobs lower than several neighboring states

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