David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today’s Labor Department employment report and the Commerce Department export report for February:
“After eight consecutive months of gains, travel employment declined slightly by 4,000 jobs in March, consistent with the national employment growth slowdown. Still, one month does not make a trend, and travel job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 7,200 jobs per month. The travel industry continues to support more than eight million direct jobs since the employment recovery began, outpacing job growth in the rest of the economy by 37 percent.
“Travel exports, on the other hand, continue to perform well. While February saw a slight decrease in travel exports (down to $18.8 billion from January’s $18.9 billion), the deceleration was nowhere near the 1.6 percent decline in total national exports. In fact, travel exports as a percentage of U.S. goods and services increased in February to 10.1 percent, with more than 10 cents of every export dollar in February generated by travel.
“The travel trade surplus has remained constant, nearing six billion dollars for the tenth straight month. Without the travel trade surplus the February goods and services trade deficit would be 17 percent larger.
“With global destinations providing competitively priced goods and services, continued investments to improve our nation’s roads, rails, ports and airports are more critical than ever to ensuring our strong standing in the international travel market. While we are making positive steps to enhance and improve the international customs entry process through the introduction of legislation such as the JOLT Act, still more can be done to improve the travel process on our soil.”