• July 26, 2021
 Hunt Institute: Region’s 2020 economy shaped by steep losses in jobs, hotel occupancies, tax collections

Photo courtesy Hunt Institue

Hunt Institute: Region’s 2020 economy shaped by steep losses in jobs, hotel occupancies, tax collections

The most recent report from UTEP’s Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness starkly illustrates the economic havoc wreaked in the region by the Covid-19 Pandemic, especially in the leisure and hospitality industries.

According to the report released Monday morning, average employment for El Paso and Las Cruces was down in 2020 compared to 2019, led by steep losses in the Leisure and Hospitality sector.  Additionally, regional hotels saw significantly lower hotel occupancy rates throughout most of 2020, with the lowest point in April.

The report goes on to show that hotel occupancy tax collections in selected Texas cities declined in the 2020 fiscal year, with San Antonio and El Paso recording the largest decreases in relative terms.

When compared to 2019 levels, El Paso’s employment dropped 3.9% – with 12,700 jobs lost; Las Cruces faired no better, dropping 5.6% or 4,200 jobs lost.  The Leisure and Hospitality industries bore the brunt of the losses, with the Sun City losing 18% – 6800 jobs – and the City of the Crosses losing 27.9% – 2400 jobs – in 2020.

With the pandemic’s effects and the resultant lockdowns, the region’s hotels show significantly lower hotel occupancy rates throughout most of 2020, with the lowest point in April.

The report shows that, in 2020, each of the area’s studied by the Hunt Institute – except McAllen – reached its highest occupancy rate in February, with El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juárez at 73%, 63%, and 68%, respectively. Researchers say that hotel occupancy rates fell sharply for all regions in March and April; then slowly began trending upward for the rest of the year.

As a result of the losses, the report shows that hotel occupancy tax collections in selected Texas cities declined in the 2020 fiscal year with San Antonio and El Paso recording the largest decreases in relative terms.

To read the Hunt Institute’s complete report, see the embedded documents below.

Staff Report

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