Leisure & Hospitality Leads the Way with 53K Jobs, Healthcare Stumbles Amid Omicron Surge

January 10, 2022
Author: Mallory Vachon, Ph.D., Sr. Economist

December’s job gains underperformed expectations, with 199,000 jobs added. As with November there were likely some seasonal factors at play with holidays and rising COVID-19 case counts due to the omicron variant. Despite the disappointing December numbers, most major industries added jobs.

National Industry Performance & Outlook for December 2021

Key Takeaways and Trends to Watch

Leisure & Hospitality leads the way with 53,000 jobs added. The industry was hit with some of the biggest losses early in the pandemic, and December’s 53,000 job gains included 42,600 jobs in bars and restaurants. Omicron could hamper Leisure & Hospitality jobs for January, but the industry has proven resilient in the face of previous surges.

Professional & Business Services added 43,000 job and remains the industry closest to recovery. If the industry adds 35,000 jobs in January, it will join Financial Activities – which recovered in October 2021 – as the second industry to recoup all jobs lost to the pandemic.

Education & Health added 10,000 jobs in December. However, healthcare – particularly hospitals and nursing homes – lost jobs last month. Employment at hospitals fell by 5,100 and nursing home employment fell by 6,100. Healthcare workers face burnout after nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the industry could see more job losses over the next couple of months following the surge in cases due to omicron.

National Job Gains by Industry for December 2021

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy reports, forecasts and advises on employment conditions and the impact to jobs, industries and businesses across all U.S. cities.