Some Raleigh businesses echo job gains in leisure and hospitality

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Friday, December 2, 2022
Some Raleigh businesses echo job gains in leisure and hospitality
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Despite some promising trends, hotel employment remains down by more than 350,000 jobs compared to February 2020.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a demand for services and jobs at Longleaf Swine in Raleigh, which opened just before the holiday season began.

"It's a great problem to have," owner Adam Cunningham said. "The more the merrier ... we're very lucky to be able to even staff properly."

The volume of staff may not be as big at Funguys Brewing three miles away, but it's just enough for owner Carly Brango, who proudly announced they recently won "Best New Brewery" by USA Today.

"I think that's part of our success, is rather than jumping the gun and hiring a bunch of employees, we're still willing to work ourselves," Brango said. "We work very hard, but we would rather see our business make it, rather than go under because we're too overstaffed."

The two businesses are part of the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 88,000 jobs in November, according to the Labor Department. The latest gain beat out its average of 82,000 jobs per month thus far this year.

But for some employers in the sector, they're struggling to find enough workers, such as the hotel industry, for example.

"Hotel employment remains down by more than 350,000 jobs compared to February 2020," AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers said. "The industry is looking to fill these positions, leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees."

Despite pressures like inflation, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said we're seeing more stable growth rates, which is "good news," for the overall economy.

"We happen to be in the midst of a pretty strong holiday season," Bernstein said. "We had a good Black Friday, we had a good Cyber Monday, and we know that people are going to restaurants, going to bars. Traveling again, flying, hotels. So that kind of demand for services is something we're seeing more of."

This comes as Raleigh-Durham International Airport saw record-breaking crowds Thanksgiving weekend with more than 332,000 passengers.

"We get a lot of people from out of state, too," Brango said. "I feel like more people out of state kind of know about us, over the local people, but starting to finally get into the more local crowd."

Falling gas prices is also another "good news," in recent weeks, with gas prices below the national average in Raleigh at $3.22 a gallon.

"That's down about 20 cents a gallon over the past month," Bernstein said. "When people are spending less at the pump that means they have a little more breathing room. That's going to show up as maybe more spending elsewhere. Maybe another holiday gift or two maybe a trip to the restaurant, maybe a trip to that involves a hotel stay, something like that."