Coronavirus: US travel job losses could hit almost 6m

The number of US travel-related jobs at risk by May due to the worsening impact of the coronavirus crisis could hit almost six million, according to new projections.

The figures indicate that the economic damage from the public health crisis is accelerating.

A similar analysis released by the US Travel Association last week forecast 4.6 million jobs lost to travel declines before May.

Revised projections show a loss of 5.9 million jobs by the end of April due to declining travel.

The association is urging the inclusion of numerous relief measures for travel businesses in a ‘Phase III’ coronavirus package being negotiated in the US Congress.

This includes:

  • Access to more significant small business loans, and ensure immediate access to retain employees and cover basic costs during the shutdown.
  • A workforce stabilisation fund to help medium and larger travel businesses retain their workers and remain solvent.
  • Tax relief to help mitigate economic losses.

US Travel Association president and chief executive Roger Dow said: “The coronavirus crisis is hitting the travel economy hard, and it’s also hitting fast.

“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 shows:

  • The loss in travel-related jobs alone will more than double the US 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 US economy into a protracted recession.

Dow added: “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.

“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 – wait staff, housekeepers, concession workers, etc.

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

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