U.S. Travel Trends

U.S. Travel Research Round-Up: Travel Jobs, Exports Health and Post-Brexit Consumer Confidence in America

Here’s a sampling of some of July 2016’s compelling findings from the U.S. Travel research team.
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U.S. Travel Research Round-Up

U.S. Travel Association

Each month, the U.S. Travel Association sends its members the U.S. Travel Outlook, which provides insight into the current state of the travel economy and related industry trends, plus other relevant data and information on the travel and tourism sector.

No Brexit Drag on Americans’ Consumer Confidence—Yet

June 2016 will go down in history as the month that the UK voted to leave the European Union, roiling international markets. However, according to the Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, Americans’ confidence in the U.S. economy remained mostly unchanged last month. According to the Conference Board, though consumer confidence edged up slightly from May to June and cautious optimism reigns, Americans are largely neutral about U.S. economic conditions.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s assessment—an unchanged economic confidence index both before and after the Brexit referendum—suggests that Americans are taking a “wait-and-see” approach before assessing the vote’s effect on the U.S. economy… or it could mean that Americans are simply unconcerned with matters across the Atlantic right now. 

Graph - Employment and Consumer Confidence

Travel Jobs Rebounded in June, Buoyed by Domestic Leisure Travel 

After two months of decline, travel-generated employment rebounded strongly in June. Around 20,400 new jobs were added across nearly all the major travel-related industries, including lodging, arts/entertainment/recreation, and food and beverage services.

June 2016 marked the largest monthly travel job increase since May 2015, according to U.S. Travel estimates. June’s increase also boosted total American travel employment to 8.2 million. These gains were posted in spite of slowdowns in domestic business and international inbound travel, thanks largely to a strong domestic leisure travel market.

These travel employment numbers come against a backdrop of overall job growth in the U.S. While the unofficial unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent to 4.9 percent, employers increased payrolls by 287,000 in June, indicating that more Americans have rejoined the workforce. 

Graph - Travel Jobs vs. Rest of the Economy

Despite Strong Dollar, Travel Exports Have Weathered the Storm So Far

The Commerce Department reported earlier this month that the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services widened in May 2016. Overall exports fell for the ninth time in the past 12 months, and imports rose substantially. A strong dollar, which has contributed to a lag in international inbound travel, likely dragged on travel exports as well.

However, travel exports are up three percent overall through the first five months of 2016, compared to the same period last year. According to U.S. Travel Senior Vice President for Research David Huether, “While the travel industry has been negatively impacted by the strong dollar as well as sub-par economic growth abroad, it has nonetheless weathered the storm better than other export-intensive industries.” 

Graph - Travel Exports vs. All Other Exports

A deeper dive into the data available in the July 2016 U.S. Travel Outlook—which includes the latest data releases on travel employment, transportation, lodging metrics and more—is online here.

U.S. Travel Association members receive the full U.S. Travel Outlook, plus a myriad of other cutting-edge research reports with information relevant to the travel industry. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a member here—or simply continue to enjoy a small taste of U.S. Travel’s research insight each month here, with the Research Round-Up. 

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