National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

from areas of high population and visit density to those of lower density. This continues to represent an opportunity for rural areas and those with attractions less frequented prior to the pandemic. It also poses challenges, as many communities in the South, Midwest, and Mountain West experienced booms in tourism and recreation employment share (counties shaded in blue). Figure 4 Leisure and Hospitality Employment Change, 2019Q3 - 2020Q3

Sources: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) based on authors’ own calculations. The change in percentage is leisure and hospitality employment in 2020 Q3 minus 2019 Q3 divided by 2019 Q3 L&H employment. Missing data is due to non-disclosed counties. Focusing next on wage changes during the pandemic, Fig. 5 shows that wages rose in some rural communities, starting arguably from a lower base, while they fell in most counties. Declines include many rural counties and metro areas. Even as growth in the number of persons employed represented a boost to local incomes, it appears from the maps that such increases in share of total employment were not consistently associated with higher pay within the sector. Comparisons cannot yet be made to 2021’s 3 rd Quarter, which has been characterized by persistent labor shortages (especially in the Leisure and Hospitality sector) and increasing inflation, which are typically associated with upward pressure on wages. Updates when data become available will be important next steps beyond this publication.

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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