National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

Impact at county level – for extension (rural areas)

County-level data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019) show the local impacts of tourism and recreation via the share of total employment attributable to the sector. Employment in the sector pre-pandemic varies significantly across jurisdictions (Fig. 3). However, in several counties Leisure and Hospitality employment is an important source of community livelihoods. Communities with pronounced dependence on this sector include the recreation hubs of the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky, lower Appalachians, and the Adirondack Mountains; gateway communities for attractions such as Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and Roosevelt National Parks; tribal communities adjacent to National Forests in South Dakota, Nebraska and New Mexico; coastal areas along the Great Lakes in Minnesota and Michigan; and border communities along the Big Bend of the Rio Grande in Texas. This data represents the baseline for the analysis that follows. Figure 3 Share of Leisure and Hospitality in Total Employment, 2019 Q3

Source: Qu arterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) based on authors’ own calculations. The share is calculated as L&H employment in 2019 Q3 divided by 2019 Q3 total employment in percentage. Missing data is due to non-disclosed counties. Comparison of the data from 2019 to that of 2020 shows dramatic differences across counties in terms of employment change, with large metropolitan areas generally experiencing significant reductions (Fig. 4). In contrast, many rural, remote, and isolated counties, with lower population densities, experienced significant increases. Underlying these trends is the general desire to socially distance during the pandemic, when tourism activity shifted

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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