The Labor Department report that the U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November – the highest monthly increase since early 2012 – with widespread gains in all sectors, drew praise from David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association.
Huether provided an analysis and noted the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent.
"The travel industry benefitted from a fifth straight month of growth, adding 8,500 jobs this month, again reaching an all-time high. Albeit from a very high base, November's travel employment increase was slower than the 12-month average of more than 11,000 jobs per month, and less notable than growth in other industries," Huether said.
"Despite experiencing slower growth than the rest of the economy this month, the travel industry has been outpacing the economy -- growing 37 percent faster since the recession," he noted.
"Total travel job growth in 2014 so far has been just shy of 120,000, and the industry has experienced positive growth in all but one month this year. If history is an indicator, December job growth will likely be higher than November, bringing the industry close to, if not surpassing, the increase of 140,000 jobs experienced in 2013," Huether said.
Separately, he noted, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that travel exports increased to $18.5 billion in October 2014, up slightly from September and only 3.1 percent lower than the recent peak of $19.1 billion in August.
"Travel continues to be a major force in overall export growth for the economy," he said. "So far this year, travel exports have accounted for 17 percent of total export growth; nearly one in every eight dollars spent on new U.S. exports this year has been from the spending of foreign travelers coming to the U.S."
"Welcoming international travelers to our shores is a powerful catalyst to drive the U.S. economy and provide good jobs for many Americans," Huether said.
"The State Department's recent extension of new Chinese business, tourist and student visas from one year to ten years can only be seen as great news for the economy, ensuring even more revenue from our fastest-growing source of overseas visitors," he noted.