California’s decision to ease pandemic-related business restrictions means amusement parks can open up again for the first time in a year. However the parks can only open up again at 25% capacity. Still it will be a boost to local tourism and related hospitality industries but unemployment remains a huge problem in the state. Leisure industry job losses made up the largest part of the state’s job market last year, accounting for 42% of California’s 1.25 million statewide jobs losses during the pandemic era.
Fitch analyst Olu Sonola said that there would not be a quick rebound for employment opportunities in the leisure and hospitality area, writing “recovery in these sectors is picking up slightly, but will be prolonged given continued travel restrictions and consumer reluctance to travel.”
The remaining 58% of job losses in California were outside of the leisure and hospitality industries in the state during the pandemic. Surprisingly according to the report by Fitch Ratings there were 29 states in which leisure and hospitality industries were a bigger slice of job cuts during the year long pandemic. The statistics were led by Nevada at 72%, South Dakota at 61% and Montana at 55%. Nationally, 37% of all job cuts can be tied to the businesses of ‘fun’ so entertainment venues, recreation attractions, hotels and restaurants.
Looking at the rest of California’s economy it still remains 5% below its pre-pandemic employment which is the ninth largest loss amongst all the USA states. With the worst being seen in Hawaii which was down 9.8%, followed by New York, down 6.7% and Louisiana, down 5.7%.
However the lockdown did save livesin California as the states per-capita rate of COVID-19 deaths was better than 29 other states.