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The impact of social distancing on leisure and hospitality

State-level data from the BLS

The FRED Blog has discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on national retail sales and employment. And Leibovici, Santacreu, and Famiglietti index the contact-intensity of a range of occupations and estimate the economic impact of their reduced activity. Their work ranks several leisure and hospitality occupations in the high-contact category.

Today, we look at the impact that social distancing has had on employment specifically in the leisure and hospitality industry.

The GeoFRED map above shows the percent change in employment levels in the leisure and hospitality industry by U.S. state between May 2019 and May 2020. Note that the data are seasonally adjusted. That means they discount regularly occurring increases and decreases in activity due to seasonal demand, such as winter skiing in Colorado or summer vacationing in Florida.

The number of employees in the leisure and hospitality industry decreased in all 50 states during May compared with a year ago. That decrease ranged from 18% in Oklahoma to 62% in New York. The median value was 38%.

And to learn about how closing restaurants and hotels spills over to total employment, read the work of Garriga and Sanchez.

How these maps were created: In GeoFRED, click on “Tools” and select the “Choose Data” tab. First, select “Region Type: State.” Next, look for “All Employees: Leisure and Hospitality, Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Thousands of Persons.” Change the units to “Percent Change” and edit the legend by entering the following values: -50, -40, -30, -20, -17. Lastly, change the color to a divergent palette of your choice.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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