This month’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some interesting tidbits for travel agents.
Despite the overall unemployment rate holding steady in June at 4.4 percent, the unemployment rate for the hospitality and tourism declined half a percentage point year over year, from 6.6 percent in June 2016 to 6.1 percent in June 2017. The overall labor force participation rate was mostly unchanged month-to-month in June, at 62.8 percent. Average hourly earnings for all nonfarm employees were up four cents to $26.25, an increase of 2.5 percent since the start of the year.
Looking ahead, other job forecasts show some positive signs for the second half of 2017. CareerBuilder’s 2017 Midyear Job Forecast is predicting that 60 percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent workers in the second half of this year, up from 50 percent last year. Additionally, 72 percent of hiring managers polled in the CareerBuilder survey said they feel they have to start paying higher wages because the market has become increasingly competitive talent, with the majority saying this trend also applies to entry-level workers.
In terms of what sort of compensation travel agents can expect, the 2016 salary survey from Hot Travel Jobs found a national average for leisure travel agents of $46,101 last year, and $47,814 for corporate travel agents. Corporate travel agent salaries were up 25 percent last year, although 39 percent of overall travel agents still rated their compensation as “below average.”
The positive signs for job growth come during a strong period for summer travel. The latest Vacation Confidence Index from Allianz Travel Insurance shows a 12.5 percent increase in summer vacation spending this year over last year, topping $100 billion for the first time. About 44 percent of Americans are confident that they will take a summer vacation this year, while 51 percent are confident that they will at least take a vacation at some point during 2017.
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates.