David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, offered his analysis of the Commerce Department announcement that the trade deficit increased by $3.2 billion in April to $40.3 billion, as the $2.2 billion rise in total exports was offset by a greater $5.4 billion surge in imports from March.
"On a positive note in an otherwise disappointing report, travel exports bucked the trend in April, growing by $23 million to $14.5 billion. As a result, the travel industry's trade surplus improved in April to $4.2 billion. This improves the 2013 year-to-date travel surplus to $17.5 billion. Without this trade surplus, the current trade deficit would be 10.6 percent larger," Huether said.
"The travel industry continues to outperform other industries in terms of export growth. While overall U.S. exports have slowed significantly this year, travel exports continue to increase at a healthy pace. Through the first four months of this year, travel exports are up 7.9 percent compared to the first four months of 2012, which is more than five-times faster than the 1.5 percent increase in other U.S. exports so far this year. As a result, the travel industry has generated close to a third (30%) of the overall increase in U.S. exports so far this year compared to the same period last year, Huether said.
"Today's release shows clearly that welcoming international travelers to our country continues to be a shot of adrenaline to our economy. The ongoing increases in travel exports is one of the main reasons why the travel industry has created jobs at a 15 percent faster rate than the rest of the economy since early 2010. This is also why policymakers should support legislation such as the JOLT Act that would increase international travel spending in the United States and lower the unemployment rate by creating American jobs through the rising travel industry," Huether said.