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U.S. Cities Most Reliant on Tourism


U.S. Cities Most Reliant on Tourism

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent during the month of August. This represents a sizable decrease from the record-high rate of 14.7 percent notched in April during the middle of the economic shutdown, but still millions of Americans remain unemployed.

The hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of last year, over 14 million people (or 9.4 percent of all workers) were employed in accommodation and food services, which includes hotels, casinos, restaurants, and bars. However, the industry accounted for almost one-third of all job losses due to the pandemic. BLS data shows that the industry has gained back over 3.7 million jobs since April, but unemployment remains high, at 20.8 percent.

The share of workers in restaurants and hospitality varies considerably on a geographic basis. Popular destinations among tourists like Nevada and Hawaii have the largest shares of workers in the sector. Over 22 percent of non-farm workers in Nevada are employed in the accommodation and food services industry, while Hawaii has over 17 percent. Nebraska and Connecticut have the lowest shares of workers in accommodation and food services, both at 7.6 percent.

To find the metropolitan areas that are most reliant on tourism, researchers at seoClarity analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The researchers ranked metro areas according to share of non-farm employment in the accommodation and food services industry. Researchers also calculated the total number of accommodation and food services workers, total (non-farm) workers across all industries, the overall unemployment rate in April, and the cost of living.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size. In the report, small metros have between 100,000–349,999 residents; midsize metros have between 350,000–999,999 residents; large metros have at least 1,000,000 residents.

Here are the large metropolitan areas that are most reliant on tourism.

Metro Rank Share of employment in Accommodation and Food Services Total Accommodation and Food Services workers Total workers across all industries Overall unemployment rate (April 2020) Cost of living*
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 1 26.2% 270,600 1,034,100 34.0% 3.2% below average


Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 2 14.0% 185,700 1,327,100 16.8% 1.3% below average


New Orleans-Metairie, LA 3 13.5% 78,900 583,400 19.0% 5.9% below average


San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 4 11.4% 171,700 1,503,900 15.0% 16.4% above average


San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 5 11.2% 121,300 1,078,700 13.3% 6.1% below average


Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 6 10.8% 120,500 1,116,000 12.2% 0.2% above average


Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 7 10.4% 283,700 2,718,100 13.4% 9.9% above average


Jacksonville, FL 8 10.2% 74,200 724,400 11.2% 4.5% below average


Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 9 10.1% 155,200 1,541,800 14.7% 7.0% above average


Tucson, AZ 10 10.1% 39,500 389,600 12.8% 6.1% below average


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 11 10.0% 621,400 6,239,500 18.8% 17.1% above average


Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 12 10.0% 79,700 795,300 12.1% 3.0% below average


Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 13 9.9% 136,600 1,384,700 13.2% 1.0% below average


Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 14 9.4% 295,700 3,156,200 14.3% 1.8% above average


Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 15 9.4% 144,800 1,536,000 12.3% 4.9% above average


United States 9.4% 14,142,600 150,939,000 14.4% N/A


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on seoClarity’s website:

This article originally appeared on seoClarity. Republished with permission.