April 5

Poached’s Industry Insights

That’s a wrap! The first quarter of 2022 brings hope, at least where COVID-19 and jobs are concerned. Here’s our overview of employment in Q1 for the hospitality industry.

We’ve made it to the second quarter of 2022 — and things are looking…optimistic? Don’t get me wrong, the world is still falling apart, but as far as the coronavirus and employment are concerned in the US, things seem to be getting better. We could even go as far as to say that the elusive “new normal” is finally here. So yes, optimistic, but carefully optimistic. What is here to stay in this new normal, you ask? For hospitality, the scars of a pandemic remain, but job growth and employment are on an upward trend. Likely, competition and turnover will remain high as we all navigate through Quarter 2.

But, don’t listen to me — let’s look at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics said about the first quarter of 2022.

Employer Activity:
Wrapping up the first quarter of 2022, employment rose by 431,000 jobs in March, with new job openings highlighted in leisure and hospitality, as well as professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing. The last three months brought a monthly average of 562,000 new jobs, similar to Q1 of 2021, suggesting that job growth is starting to level out. And while we’re not back to pre-pandemic levels of job gains, this last quarter only came in 1% short of job growth reported back in February 2020.

Leisure and hospitality increased job gains by 112,000 in March but is still down 8.7% from before COVID-19 shook our industry. While job growth overall is up, Hospitality is still recovering more slowly than other industries. Most other sectors reported in the BLS employment situation report were near the job growth reported in February 2020. While hospitality seems to be recovering more slowly than other industries, we are still experiencing an upward trend of new jobs.

Worker Activity:
Overall, unemployment numbers are sooo close to being back to how they were pre-pandemic, ending the first quarter of the year at 3.6%. That’s only 1% higher than the unemployment rate reported in February 2020. On Poached, we saw a 38% increase in new job seeker registrations over the last three months, showing that workers are finally returning to the hospitality industry. According to the BLS report, the labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio are still below pre-pandemic times, so while things are looking good, there is certainly room for improvement.

The report also showed that the average hourly wage went up by $0.13 to $31.73 in March — while this is the average across all sectors, it’s true that wages in hospitality have also increased as competition remains high. Employers are raising wages to attract larger candidate pools in harder-to-fill positions. This goes to show that while we see a healthy re-entry rate, employers need to put their best foot forward when hiring. With high competition, employers must remember to consider the worker when writing job ads, listing out perks and benefits, company culture, and anything and everything that will make your business truly shine amongst all the rest. It’s still a job-seekers market out there.

Overall, 2022 has started on a good note. COVID-19 cases and deaths are down, and overall job growth and employment in hospitality are up. We still have ways to go toward recovery, but it seems we are getting nearer to the other side of the pandemic, finally! Competition for hiring is still fierce, and it’s still essential for employers to keep ahead of competitive tactics to bring in more candidates.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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