David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's U.S. employment and exports numbers:
"The American travel industry is leading, yet again, our nation's economic growth and recovery.
"While the rest of the economy added jobs at a slower rate in March, the travel industry bucked the trend and added 7,000, or 8 percent, of the 88,000 new jobs. Direct travel employment now totals 7.7 million.
"Since the economic recovery began in early 2010, travel has expanded employment at a 10 percent faster pace than the rest of the economy, adding 365,800 jobs and making up more than three-quarters of the jobs lost during the recession compared to two-thirds for the rest of the economy.
"Of the $186 billion in U.S. exports in February, travel accounted for $14.3 billion, rising by $72 million over January and reversing a one-month decline. U.S. travel exports rose 7.2 percent through the first two months of this year over the same period in 2012, 2.5 times faster than the growth of other U.S. exports. Because of this faster growth, the travel industry has generated 17 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports this year compared to the first two months of 2012.
"Travel continues to be a key driver in growing our nation's exports, with the monthly trade surplus in travel exceeding $4 billion in February. In fact, the travel industry posted a record $50 billion trade surplus in 2012, larger than those generated by the agricultural sector or any of the major manufacturing industries.
"These numbers are proof positive that welcoming travelers to our shores is a powerful engine of economic growth for our country that will create more American jobs. We urge policymakers to support the travel industry by exempting critical travel functions from sequestration's budget reductions and to enact critical proposals, such as those included in the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, H.R. 1354."
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. www.ustravel.org.
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