David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's Labor Department announcement that the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February: "The travel industry continued to expand in February and has now added jobs in 10 of the past 12 months. Direct travel employment, now at 7.7 million, stands at its highest level since September 2008.
"However, after adding an average of 8,000 workers per month in 2012, travel industry employment growth has slowed so far in 2013, with the 1,000 jobs added in February closely mirroring a similarly modest gain of 3,000 in January. To some degree, the travel industry has been impacted by the short-term effects stemming from social security taxes being returned to their historic rates, which depressed disposable income growth early this year. More concerning is the potential negative impact on travelers to and within the United States from automatic budget cutbacks on March 1, also known as the sequester.
"Despite these challenges, the travel industry has been a consistent leader in the economy recovery to date. Since the recovery began in early 2010, the travel industry has created employment opportunities at a nine percent faster pace than the rest of the economy, added nearly 351,000 jobs and made up three-quarters of the jobs lost during the recession compared to two-thirds for the rest of the economy."
Huether is available for further analysis and comment.
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.
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