AHLA Reports U.S. Hotels Added 700 Jobs in May Amid Workforce Shortage and H-2B Visa Issues – LODGING

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has reported that US hotels added 700 jobs in May, according to the latest government data. However, the ongoing nationwide workforce shortage is making it difficult for hotels to fill open positions. The total hotel employment currently stands at approximately 1.92 million, which is 191,500 fewer than in February 2020, before the pandemic.

AHLA Interim President and CEO Kevin Carey stated that while hotels are ready to create more jobs, the workforce shortage is preventing this. He suggested that Congress and the administration could help by increasing the number of H-2B visas, extending the certification period for H-2B employees, and simplifying the process for qualified asylum seekers to work in the US.

Despite the workforce shortage, hotels have increased wages by an average of 26.4% since the pandemic, which is faster than the average wage increase in the general economy (21.7%). However, there are still tens of thousands of open hotel jobs in the US.

As of April, there were 8.1 million job openings in the US but only 6.5 million unemployed people to fill those roles. AHLA is urging the Department of Homeland Security to expand the workforce by making nearly 65,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available.

AHLA is also advocating for several bills to be passed to help expand the workforce. These include The Closing the Workforce Gap Act of 2024, The H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act, and The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act. These acts aim to replace the annual cap on H-2B guestworker visas with a needs-based system, expand the labor certification period to three years, and allow asylum seekers to work 30 days after applying for asylum under certain conditions.

Source: lodgingmagazine.com

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