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 U.S. trade balance for February:
"Following a December surge, travel exports edged down for a second consecutive month in February, falling $0.2 billion to a level of $15.6 billion in February. Still, compared to the first two months of last year, travel exports are up a very solid 6.2 percent so far this year—nearly three times faster than the rise in other U.S. exports of goods and services—and have accounted for a fifth of overall U.S. export growth in 2014.
"Concurrent with a milder rise in travel imports, the travel industry's trade surplus is 6.7 percent higher so far this year compared to the first two months of last year, far better than the 3.4 percent improvement in the U.S. trade balance of other goods and services.
"Without the $10.1 billion travel trade surplus so far in 2014, the U.S. overall trade deficit would be 12.4 percent larger.
"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 has 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 $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.