Report: The Pittsburgh space’s recreation and hospitality sectors are in dire straits

The region’s leisure and hospitality sectors are in dire economic straits, according to a report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development released earlier this month

Some industries in the region have rallied in employment numbers from COVID-19, and in some cases, such as retail and healthcare, they are even ahead of their pre-pandemic employment numbers, said Jim Futrell, vice president of market research at The conference.

“Leisure and hospitality on the other hand … while it could easily recover well into June [coronavirus] The restrictions have been lifted. You saw that the sector hasn’t really seen any momentum since then. “

This industry includes companies and nonprofits involved in the arts, entertainment, and recreation, such as symphonies, cultural events, and museums, as well as accommodation and catering businesses, such as hotels and restaurants.

It is the third largest industry in the region, he noted.

A poll by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association late last year found that about half of restaurants didn’t expect to be up and running in six months without additional government support.

Chris Briem, a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research, has also examined the unequal impact of the pandemic on different parts of the economy.

“The recovery in this sector has clearly been over for several months,” he said of restaurants, noting that “full-service” restaurants where customers sit to order have been hit hardest.

The report of the Allegheny conference deals with the employment figures of the Federal Office for Labor Statistics up to December last year.

“With the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, it is becoming increasingly clear that the leisure and hospitality sector is in a depression while the entire region is in recession,” wrote Futrell in the group’s report.

“Leisure time and hospitality have hardly recovered since June. While much of this can be attributed to the challenges of hospitality, the employment, entertainment and recreation sectors have been declining steadily since July. Trends are unlikely to change in the coming months due to the cold weather, but with the emergence of a vaccine looming and spring approaching, a slow recovery may begin that will benefit overall regional employment, ”Futrell said.

The region lost more than 86,000 jobs in total – a 7.2% decrease in employment between December 2019 and December 2020. The report includes counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland.

Pennsylvania recently launched a $ 145 million “recovery program” for hospitality companies. Counties must set up grant programs to distribute the funds to eligible businesses.

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