Leisure and hospitality industry employment in metro Houston stood at 349,500 jobs in January 2024, a 2% increase over January 2023 and a 9% increase from pre-pandemic sector totals.

The industry accounts for 10.3% of the region’s 3.4 million nonfarm jobs. Total nonfarm employment is up 3% 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 by about 9% or more than 29,000 jobs since 2019, the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roughly 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 leisure and hospitality subsectors:

  • Accommodation and food services employment has increased 8.8% since 2019
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation employment has grown by nearly 13%
  • Food services and drinking places jobs have increased 10.4%

Written by A.J. Mistretta