Whether you prefer to spend your time in a museum or in a restaurant, the leisure and hospitality industry just might be the right career path for you. And in the Chicago area, the industry has seen robust growth in employment in recent months.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the preliminary numbers indicate the leisure and hospitality industry employed approximately 370,000 people in June 2013 in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan area and represented an increase of 2.3 percent from the rate in June 2012. In addition, the rate in June 2013 represented an increase of 3.4 percent from May 2013. The numbers were not seasonally adjusted.

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The preliminary overall unemployment rate for the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan area was 10.3 percent in June 2013, representing an increase from the rate of 9.3 percent reported in May 2013. It was also an increase from the unemployment rate of 9.6 percent reported in June 2012. The unemployment rate was not seasonally adjusted.

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According to the BLS, the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan division consists of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Will counties.

Careers in the leisure category include those associated with museums, historical sites, amusement parks and gambling, while careers in the hospitality field include those associated with hotels, restaurants and bars. With almost 40 million people visiting Chicago annually, the city is home to a number of hotels and restaurants, as well as museums and convention centers. For instance, The Langham recently opened in Chicago’s downtown, and Hyatt Regency McCormick Place completed in June an expansion and renovation totaling approximately $110 million. With other hotel projects underway, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel striving to have 50 million tourists visit Chicago every year by 2020, the leisure and hospitality category might see an increase in demand for staff in the future.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.