In Georgia, 9.7% of the Workforce Relies on Tourism

Staff Report

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent during the month of August. This represents a sizable decrease from the record high rate of 14.7 percent notched in April during the middle of the economic shutdown, but still millions of Americans remain unemployed. 

The hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of last year, over 14 million people (or 9.4 percent of all workers) were employed in accommodation and food services, which includes hotels, casinos, restaurants, and bars. However, the industry accounted for almost one-third of all job losses due to the pandemic. BLS data shows that the industry has gained back over 3.7 million jobs since April, but unemployment remains high, at 20.8 percent.


The share of workers in restaurants and hospitality varies considerably on a geographic basis. Popular destinations among tourists like Nevada and Hawaii have the largest shares of workers in the sector. Over 22 percent of non-farm workers in Nevada are employed in the accommodation and food services industry, while Hawaii has over 17 percent. Nebraska and Connecticut have the lowest shares of workers in accommodation and food services, both at 7.6 percent.

To find the states that are most reliant on tourism, researchers at seoClarity analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The researchers ranked states according to share of non-farm employment in the accommodation and food services industry. Researchers also calculated the total number of accommodation and food services workers, total (non-farm) workers across all industries, the overall unemployment rate in April, and the cost of living.

The analysis found that in Georgia, 9.7% of all workers are members of the accommodation and food services industry, which relies heavily on tourism. Here is a summary of the data for Georgia:

  • Share of employment in Accommodation and Food Services: 9.7%

  • Total Accommodation and Food Services workers: 445,500

  • Total workers across all industries: 4,613,800

  • Overall unemployment rate (April 2020): 12.2%

  • Cost of living*: 7.0% below average

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Share of employment in Accommodation and Food Services: 9.4%

  • Total Accommodation and Food Services workers: 14,142,600

  • Total workers across all industries: 150,939,000

  • Overall unemployment rate (April 2020): 14.4%

  • Cost of living*: N/A

*Compared to the national average

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on seoClarity’s website: