David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today’s Labor Department report on May 2012 employment numbers:
“The Labor Department reported today that the economy added just 80,000 new jobs in June, similar to the revised 77,000 gain in May. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained perched at 8.2 percent for a second consecutive month. After creating 226,000 jobs per month in the first quarter, the economy was only able to boost employment by an average of 75,000 per month in the second quarter. And, while some of this deceleration was due to an unseasonably warm winter, there’s no denying that the recovery is in a soft patch.
“The slowdown has also extended to the travel sector of the economy, where after creating more than 13,000 jobs per month in the first quarter, travel jobs edged up just 2,600 per month in the second quarter, including an increase of just 1,300 in June to 7.6 million.
“Still, it is important to note that since the employment recovery began in March of 2011, the travel industry has created 271,000 new jobs and has created jobs at a pace that has been 26 percent faster than the rest of the economy.
“Two reasons why employment growth in the travel sector has been outpacing the rest of the economy in recent years are that jobs in the travel industry cannot be outsourced abroad or easily replaced through automation. With the travel industry more internationally engaged than most sectors of the economy, the current slowdown in employment growth has likely been due partly to the economic slowdown in Europe, which is why it is important for U.S. policymakers to enact sensible long-term reforms that will make it easier for travelers from other areas of the world, such as Latin American and Asia, to visit the United States. And with the spending of every 33 overseas visitors supporting one U.S. job, more visitors will equal more jobs in America.”
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and supports 14.4 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.