Tourism remains behind other sectors in recovering jobs lost amid the early days of the pandemic.
At least three of the biggest counties in the region — Hillsborough, Lee and Sarasota — have been setting monthly bed tax collection records, as the tourism spigot opens all across Florida. Other counties and towns are consistently posting robust tourism numbers, too.
Yet while tourism booms, jobs in the industry lag. The latest Bureau of Labor statistics monthly report, for example, found that the hospitality and leisure sector remained down some 9,000 jobs in the Tampa region from February 2020 levels.
The region’s hospitality and leisure sector added 1,800 jobs in October, according to an analysis of the BLS data from commercial real estate firm CoStar. That brought its cumulative recovery to about 88% of the 72,000 jobs lost in the initial months of the pandemic.
The report, overall, shows a mix of results when it comes to pandemic jobs recovery. Three other categories — government, education/health services and manufacturing — join leisure and hospitality in not yet getting back to pre-pandemic levels. Five other sectors, with professional/business services leading the way at 20,000 new jobs, have posted employment gains since February 2020. The Tampa region scored a net gain of 12,500 jobs, the report found.
That last nugget is good news for the Tampa office market. About 2,600 jobs in professional and business services, financial activities and information services were added in October in Tampa, which “pushed total office-using employment to levels 6.3% higher than before the pandemic,” the CoStar report states.