Employment in the recreation and accommodation sectors reached the highest figure in the past 30 years in February, analyzed the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL, for its acronym in English).
According to the BSL, 84,300 jobs were registered in these economic sectors, a number that represents 900 more jobs than those reported in January 2022 and 12,600 more than those registered in February 2021, according to the Non-Agricultural Salaried Employment report of the Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH). On the contrary, during the first month of contingencies to avoid contagion from the coronavirus, jobs in the recreation and hospitality sector fell from 81,100 to 48,800.
“This is another indicator that the tourism industry is recovering after some difficult years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is still a long way to go, especially in those sectors that are not so far along in the recovery process, but these indicators testify that the industry is on the right path towards economic growth and towards the creation of more and better job opportunities for our workers,” said Brad Dean, chief executive officer of Discover Puerto Rico.
The increase in jobs was reported mainly in the hotel and restaurant areas, which accounted for 89% of the increase between January and February and 97% of the year-on-year increase.
This increase in jobs in recreation and lodging in Puerto Rico stands out with US destinations, since in the entire United States, jobs in these sectors have been 9.3% below the levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only states or territories with increases in the number of jobs in these sectors since the pandemic began are states with National Parks such as Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. However, the increases vary between 1.9% and 2.2%, unlike the 4.3% awarded to Puerto Rico.
Other indicators give indications that Puerto Rico is headed for a recovery in the tourism industry. In 2021, Puerto Rico reported the highest amount of lodging revenue in its history with $1.3 billion. Similarly, collections from the “room tax” exceeded $98 million, a figure that is 45% higher than the average for the decade of the 2010s. Likewise, the number of passengers landing at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport reached its peak. peak in more than a decade.
“The current employment statistics in the recreation and hospitality lines are an additional example of the resilience and sustainable recovery capacity of the tourism sector. We have established incentive and training programs for inns and endorsed tourism companies, in order to strengthen our offer, raise the quality of service, and promote new job opportunities in the sector,” said the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Carlos Mercado Santiago.
“We are seeing a very encouraging outlook for tourism in Puerto Rico, since there is an increase in demand so far this year, so we understand that 2022 will be a positive one for the island’s tourist activity. We are hopeful that this pattern continues in this way to finally have a fully recovered industry,” said the president of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, Clarisa Jiménez.