Report: Entertainment/Leisure Sector Job Losses Double in 2010

Believe it or not, jobs in film, television and other media were relatively safe in 2010, but the same can’t be said for jobs at movie theaters and theme parks.

Last year, media employers announced that 4,889 people were laid off, a 78% improvement over the year earlier when those companies eliminated 22,346 jobs.

But in the entertainment/leisure category, which includes hotel and travel along with theme parks and movie theaters, 23,390 people were let go. That’s 53% more than the 15,280 jobs lost in 2009.

Entertainment/leisure, in fact, was the worst-performing sector year-over-year among the 25 tracked by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which released the data Wednesday.

Entertainment/leisure was one of just three categories to show more job losses in 2010 than in 2009. The other two were utilities and real estate.

Across all segments of the economy, companies eliminated 529,973 jobs, the fewest since 1997, suggesting that most companies might finally be done laying off employees.

“The downsizing phase of the recession really came to an end in 2009,” said Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John A. Challenger. “The pace of downsizing continued to slow in 2010 to levels we have not seen since before the 2001 recession.”

That won’t translate to a lower unemployment rate, however. Unemployed people who stopped searching for work and are not counted will probably start applying for jobs again and thus be included in unemployment stats again.

“Unemployment will probably remain high throughout 2011,” Challenger said. “In fact, it could venture north of 10% again before the end of the year.”