LAST MONTH SAW some jobs added to the leisure and hospitality segment of the economy, but it still lags behind most other segments, according to an analysis from the U.S. Travel Association. USTA is calling on President Biden’s administration and Congress to provide more aid to the industry.

In March, the leisure and hospitality segment added 280,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate in the sector remained at 13 percent, more than twice the national rate of 6 percent, said Aaron Szyf, USTA economist, in his latest “By the Numbers” article. Citing data from a report prepared for USTA by Tourism Economics, Szyf wrote that the pandemic has eliminated nearly one-fifth of leisure and hospitality jobs between February and March.

That’s seven percentage points more than the next hardest-hit industry, and subsectors that rely the most on travel, including accommodations, face a very long recovery.

“While the slight gains in leisure and hospitality point to recovery for the travel industry, it registers as the worst-performing sector since the onset of the pandemic, given the drastic scale-backs the industry endured,” Szyf wrote. “The Biden administration’s efforts to fast-track COVID-19 vaccinations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement loosening restrictions on vaccinated travelers could help accelerate recovery, but more must be done to restart professional meetings and events, reopen international borders and spur travel demand.”

USTA wants Congress and the Biden administration “to put the recovery of travel jobs at the forefront of the White House’s priorities.”

“Leisure and hospitality accounted for nearly 40 percent of all jobs lost in 2020, and the U.S. economy cannot make a complete comeback without them,” Szyf wrote.

In a previous article, Szyf said travel spending fell 69 percent last year globally and 76 percent for international travel spending in the U.S., according to a report from the World Travel & Tourism Council.