The number of people employed by the hospitality industry has fallen year-on-year for the first time since 2009, official data has confirmed.
Newly released ONS figures show the average number of people working in the accommodation and food service sectors in the 12 months to June 2018 was 18,000 fewer than the previous year.
Just over 1.75 million people were employed in hospitality at the end of Jun 2018, a drop of 1% from the 1.77 million at the end of June 2017.
The decrease is the first time ONS figures have shown a year-on-year drop in employment in the industry since 2009 – the tail end of the 2008 recession.
Currently the number of people employed by the industry make up 5.5% of the nation’s 32 million strong workforce.
It comes as the recruitment crisis in catering continues to grow, putting work forces under strain and causing concern around industry growth.
Last month UKHospitality warned a fall in net migration from the EU to 100,000 in 2017 was an “alarming portent of possible disaster” for the industry.
At the time their chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality labour pool is shrinking and around a quarter of employers in the sector already say they are struggling to fill vacancies.
“The hospitality sector relies heavily on EU migrants to fill many of its vacancies and should this trend continue, businesses are likely to struggle to keep up with projected growth.”