Some jobs will not recover from the pandemic recession. This could be a good thing for workers.

The United States may be back to record employment, but jobs look completely different from the pre-pandemic norm.

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For starters, many in-person service sectors are still struggling to return to pre-pandemic employment levels. Travel arrangement and reservation services are a far cry from their pre-crisis employment numbers, with employment still down around 31% from February 2020 levels in August. These companies have been battered throughout the pandemic as early lockdowns and subsequent virus variants have halted travel for much of the year.

The drop in business travel has also hampered the industry’s hiring plans, and that shortfall is expected to persist, Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told Insider.

“Remote work will be permanently higher than it was pre-pandemic, so jobs in the office ecosystem and jobs related to travel are going to be permanently lower,” she said.

Coal mining employment is 17.7% below its pre-pandemic level. Daniel Zhao, chief economist at Glassdoor, told Insider that this highlights a long-term trend that existed before COVID as the United States shifts to cleaner energy sources.

Abandoning coal is “not something that has really been changed by COVID,” Zhao said. “If anything, maybe the pandemic has slowed that down a bit just because of higher energy prices. But overall it’s a trend that I expect ‘it continues, no matter how the pandemic continues to unfold.”

Public transit and ground passenger transportation, which includes school buses and public transit, are also not back to pre-pandemic employment.

“I expect there will be a recovery in this industry, but the pace will probably be different from the rest of the economy because it’s very, very government funding-based,” Zhao said.

Leisure and hospitality employment still down 1.2 million from pre-pandemic levels

Companies in the leisure and hospitality sector have been creating jobs at the fastest pace throughout the recovery, signaling that they could still catch up. Yet, with employment still so far off previous highs, the return to those job numbers could slow long before the sector fully rebounds.

“We all thought the initial moves away from trend were pandemic related and things would go back to normal. But now they’ve been really stable at the new normal for a long, long time,” Pollak said. “We don’t really see a convergence related to the end of the pandemic and a return to normal behavior.”

The accommodation industry, hotels and motels, has suffered during the pandemic. Employment at these companies is down about 19% from levels seen in February 2020.

“I think overall, accommodation and the broader leisure and hospitality industry will return to pre-pandemic employment levels,” Zhao said. “Right now this industry feels like it’s a far cry from where it was before the pandemic, but that’s largely because of the depth of the crisis for the leisure industry and the hotel.”

Food services and drinking places, which like accommodation belong to leisure and hospitality, are also still below pre-pandemic employment. This could be a potential sector that may not return to its pre-pandemic state.

“Restaurants and their customers have found themselves in a ‘new normal’. Given emerging technology, changing consumer behavior and culinary preferences, and the extraordinary challenges of the past two years, it is unlikely that the industry fully returns to its pre-pandemic state,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and knowledge group at the National Restaurant Association, said.

Some industries in the United States are seeing high employment rates compared to February 2020

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