Travel booking jobs rose again in January, but more slowly than they had in December. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest jobs report, which includes job statistics for January 2018.
According to the report, the travel arrangement and reservation services sector added 700 jobs between December and January. That’s less than December’s gain of 1,200 jobs over the previous month. The two months before that, however, had seen a decline in travel booking jobs, by 900 in November and 1,000 in October. Overall, the sector has added 2,900 jobs since January of last year.
The leisure and hospitality as a whole added 35,000 jobs in January, a larger gain than December’s 29,000 job gain and November’s 14,000 job gain, when the sector was still bouncing back from the impact of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. Overall, the leisure and hospitality sector added 112,400 jobs between January of 2017 and January of 2018.
The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent in January, where it has held steady for the past two months. The overall economy added 200,000 jobs, with notable gains in construction, food services and drinking places, health care and manufacturing.
The report comes as the tourism industry continues to assess the impact of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, two powerful category 5 storms that struck the Caribbean last year. According to tourism representatives at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace, Caribbean hotels performed better than expected in 2017, considering the historic nature of the storms.
“Overall, 2017 was a mixed bag,” Frank Comito, CEO and director general for the CHTA, told Travel Agent and other media at the event. “Stopover arrivals were up, but were below forecast. There was a 1.2 percent dip in occupancy, but imagine if there were no storms. Had you taken that out of the picture, we would have had a really good year as a region.”