David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's Commerce Department announcement of the December U.S. trade balance:
"Travel continues to be a trade dynamo. Travel exports increased by $0.7 billion to $15.9 billion in December 2013—an 11.8 percent increase from December 2012. The monthly increase was the largest since February 2012, and the largest December increase in the past 20 years.
"The travel industry's trade surplus—the third-largest of any industry—was 8.5 percent higher in December 2013 than in the same month a year before.
"For 2013 overall, travel exports increased by 9.1 percent to a record $180.7 billion dollars. By contrast, other U.S. exports edged up just 2.3 percent in 2013, much slower than in 2012. As a result of growing so much faster than other exports, the travel industry generated 25 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports in 2013—not bad for an industry that makes up 8.6 percent of total U.S. exports overall.
"With world-class destinations and competitively priced goods and services, the U.S. travel industry is attracting a record number of foreign travelers to our shores this year, and their spending while visiting our country is one of the key reasons the travel industry been creating jobs faster than the rest of the economy. To build on this success, we urge policymakers to support critical proposals to boost travel, such as the JOLT Act, which would increase international spending in the United States and create more American jobs."
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.