David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association provides analysis on this week’s Labor Department employment report and the Commerce Department export report:
“Employment in the travel industry rebounded last month, adding 2,200 jobs in April. Travel continues to be a consistent job creator and a strong contributor to the U.S. economy, generating 11,400 direct jobs so far this year. Since the employment recovery began, the travel industry has created 855,300 jobs, outpacing job growth in the rest of the economy by 34 percent.
“Despite the stronger dollar and slowdown in overall exports, travel continues to outpace other U.S. exports. While travel exports edged down slightly to $18.6 billion in March, the first quarter of 2015 overall posted positive margins. Travel exports rose at an annual rate of 4.6 percent, a stark contrast to all other U.S. exports of goods and services, which plummeted 19.3 percent over the same period. Travel exports have accounted for 10 percent of overall U.S. exports so far this year.
“The travel trade surplus has remained consistent, generating nearly a $6 billion trade surplus for the eleventh straight month. Without the travel trade surplus, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit would be 11 percent larger.
“In order to maintain this positive trend in travel industry employment and exports, it is paramount to support policies that encourage open markets and increased competition. Under Open Skies agreements, the U.S. welcomed a record 75 million international visitors in 2014 who spent $180 billion on travel goods and services, directly supporting over one million American jobs—jobs that support local economies and cannot be outsourced abroad. Maintaining these agreements is critical to keeping America’s travel employment and trade surplus thriving.”