The U.S. Travel Association is projecting that nearly 6 million travel-related American jobs will be lost by the end of April due to the coronavirus, according to an analysis released by the group Tuesday.
The updated estimate follows a projection last week from the same group that estimated 4.6 million travel-related American jobs would be lost.
The group also predicted that travel-related employment losses alone will double the unemployment rate to 7.1 percent by the end of April from 3.5 percent in February.
There will also be a $910 billion hit to the U.S. economy due to the decrease in travel, which is seven times the impact 9/11 had on the industry, according to the analysis.
“The coronavirus crisis is hitting the travel economy hard, and it's also hitting fast,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “These new figures underscore the extreme urgency of financial relief for travel businesses—83% of which are small businesses—so they can keep paying their employees. Not only are workers suffering right now, but if employers are forced to close their doors, it is unknown when or if those jobs will ever come back.”
Total spending on travel, which includes lodging, retail, restaurants, transportation and attractions, is projected to plunge by 78 percent in the next two months, with losses of $400 billion in 2020.
“We project the US economy to enter a protracted recession based on the expected downturn in travel alone,” the group said in its analysis, adding that this recession is likely to last for two quarters and that the lowest point will be the second quarter of this year.
The majority of airlines worldwide have severely cut capacity, including North American airlines Air Transat, Compass Airlines, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Sunwing and Trans State Airlines.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have cut 70 percent and 65 percent, respectively.