Leisure and hospitality industry employment in metro Houston stood at 344,800 jobs in December 2023, roughly the same as a year earlier but up nearly 3% from pre-pandemic sector totals.

The industry accounts for just over 10% of the region’s 3.4 million nonfarm jobs. Total nonfarm employment is up 2% over the same period a year ago.

Leisure and hospitality—which includes accommodation and food services as well as arts, entertainment, and recreation—has increased its job count about 3% or 9,000 jobs since 2019, the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A little less than 7% of the total jobs in the sector are currently open, on par with total nonfarm job openings in the region. That’s down from a peak of nearly 10% in December 2022 but still above pre-pandemic openings, suggesting a continued industry labor shortage.

Among major Texas metros, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has increased leisure and hospitality employment by 4% over the last year, Austin-Round Rock has added about 2% of its sector jobs, and San Antonio has added about 5%. Statewide, sector employment is up 3% year over year.

Written by A.J. Mistretta

Pictured: Tequila Room at Pico's