No Industry Has Pre-Pandemic Employment Levels, Besides Federal Government

No Industry Has Pre-Pandemic Employment Levels, Besides Federal Government
United States Capitol, Washington D.C. © Harold Mendoza

April 2020 saw the U.S. go into full crisis mode, as the coronavirus pandemic exploded. As a result, millions of people lost their jobs and the national unemployment rate nearly hit 15%.

A year-plus later the economy has begun to recover. The number of workers in the leisure and hospitality industry is up 70% since April 2020 after being the hardest hit — but it’s still down 13% from February 2020.

MagnifyMoney researchers examined U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job data to find the industries that lost the most personnel — and determine which ones have recovered the best.

Full study findings are available here.

Key findings:

  • Leisure and hospitality was by far the hardest-hit industry at the beginning of the pandemic, losing 49% of its workforce between February 2020 and April 2020.
  • Recovery may be gracing the hardest-hit industries fastest. The leisure and hospitality industry may have taken the biggest hit, but it has since seen the most robust growth. The number of people working in leisure and hospitality grew by 70% between April 2020 and June 2021.
  • A federal government job might be a safe bet against future catastrophe. BLS data shows that the number of people working for the federal government is unchanged since before the pandemic — the only industry to remain flat.

On top of losing the most jobs, those in the hospitality and leisure industry also earned the lowest wages across the industries analyzed. Before the next global crisis unfolds, consumers should do their best to financially prepare by building — or in some cases rebuilding — robust emergency savings, LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz says.

“You never know when that rainy day is going to come or just how strong that storm will be, but you know one will come eventually, so the more prepared you can be with emergency savings, the better off you’ll be.”