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New B-CS Economic Indicators data show rebound in hospitality and leisure

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The hospitality and leisure industries have bounced back from the huge blow they received during the pandemic.

The latest Bryan-College Station Economic Indicators show employment in Leisure and Hospitality is now estimated to be 97.7% of its pre-pandemic level. Previously, it was estimated to be down by 20%.

During the COVID-29 pandemic the hospitality and leisure industries were some of the hardest hit, but as restrictions have lifted people are venturing outside their homes again.

“We’re forecasting a great 2022,” said Bobby Dyer is the General Manager of the College Station Hilton. “Not quite at 2019 numbers, but getting closer. Occupancy is certainly expected over the summer months.”

Back in 2020 they were down to eight team members. Now, there’s a team of 146 members.

“All of our outlets are currently open so that’s your restaurants, your room service so, it’s beginning to feel some normalcy,” said Dyer.

Dennis Jansen with the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center says workers in these jobs are also making more money.

“The average wages in the U.S. have gone up about 6% over the last 12 months. Since January of 2021 wages in leisure and hospitality have actually gone up 14% almost 14.5% so they’ve gone up quite a bit more,” said Jansen.

Some of the data the research center had been receiving from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics on these industries were flawed, according to Jansen.

“Their benchmarks, they weren’t working for them very well... The problem is that because of the pandemic lots of businesses went out of business in that area. Especially in that industry and also employees came and went so there were a lot of layoffs,” he said.

But despite the setback, trends are expected to continue in a positive direction.

“Great opportunities in hospitality. You don’t need a degree in you just have to have that hospitable nature and that ability to work and communicate and be hospitable,” said Dyer.

The latest data for February shows the unemployment rate in Bryan-College Station remained at 3.7%, one of the lowest in the state.

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