In 2018, the Orlando metro area was visited by 126.1 million tourists, a new record which the area has broken for its eighth year (Sanata 2019). As the number of visitors to the area continues to rise, so has the number of people employed by the hospitality industry which currently makes up the largest sector of the area's job market, employing 280,000 workers as of December 2019 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Consistent growth in various insecure and unstable jobs of this kind have prompted the development of theory regarding the emergence of a new class known as the precariat. The precariat is largely defined by flexible labor which often leads to unstable employment and wage insecurity. Recently, business closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to historic levels of unemployment nationwide, disproportionately affecting those employed in the hospitality industry and further exacerbating the instability and uncertainty that characterizes precarious work. The purpose of this study is to explore and evaluate the experiences of hospitality workers since business closures and to identify how race, gender, and income type may create stratification within the precariat. Data was collected from 254 participants using a 10-minute online survey based on the following dimensions: employment status, housing, healthcare, food security, access to and receipt of social services, and opinions regarding employer interactions and government relief. The results of this study identify the difficulties in maintaining household expenses and obtaining unemployment benefits during the pandemic as well as negative opinions regarding state and federal government response. Furthermore, analysis of race, gender, and income type within the precariat found significant differences between the overall wellbeing of women and men as well as among varying income types including salaried, tipped, and hourly workers.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Austin, Caroline, "The Precariat and the Pandemic: Assessing the Wellbeing of Metro Orlando's Hospitality Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 172.