Could the tourism industry lose half a million jobs?
Employment related to the tourism industry fell 149,000 in the first quarter of 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The number of people working in this sector declined to 8.35 million. This is the worst drop the travel and tourism industry has sustained since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 brought the industry to a screeching halt. It's also the second greatest drop in employment for this sector on record.
The first quarter showed an accelerated rate of job loss experienced by the tourism industry, moving from a 4 percent decline to a 6.8 percent decline on an annualized basis. This deep and accelerating trend suggests that the travel industry is in worse shape than originally suspected. Back in February, the prevailing expectation was that 247,000 travel industry jobs would be lost this year, following the 240,000 that were shed in 2008.