Study: Travel is one of the nation’s largest job creators

People’s love of travel helps make it one of the nation’s biggest job creators, according to a study released today by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).

The study , which analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that the number of travel jobs rose 17 percent from 2010 to 2016 vs. a 13 percent increase for the rest of the  private employment sector.

USTA CEO Roger Dow said the travel industry often is an “under-appreciated” economic booster.

Last year, the economic output generated by U.S. and international visitors totaled $990.3 billion in direct spending and $1.3 trillion in indirect spending, according to USTA data. The tourism industry generated $157.8 billion in federal, state and local revenue.

Growth in travel is fueling such spending. This year, the number of global outbound trips is forecast to grow between 4 percent to 5 percent, driving by travel to Asia and the United States, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17.

The travel industry directly supports 8.6 million jobs plus 6.7 million jobs in other industries, according to the USTA. Dow noted that travel is a “good” jobs with career advancement opportunities.

Here are some other highlights of the new USTA study:

  • People whose first job was in a travel-related industry reach an average career salary of $81,900 — significantly higher than those whose first job was in nearly any other U.S. industry.
  • Nearly 40 percent of workers who started their career in travel reached an annual career salary of over $100,000.
  • The travel industry is a better career starter for people with less education: Workers with a high school degree or less whose first jobs was in travel reached an average career salary of $69,500, 5 percent higher than the average salary of those who started out in other industries.
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Is U.S. travel increasing despite or because of election?

The U.S. presidential election didn’t put a damper on U.S. travel in November as some expected.

In fact, business and leisure travel within and to the United States that month increased at a faster-than-average pace over the last six months, according to the Travel Trends Index released this week by the U.S. Travel Association and Oxford Economics. And travel is expected to continue to grow in the next six months even with some continued uncertainty.

After Donald Trump’s election win in November, “we were prepared to see a wary short-term reaction, particularly in demand for inbound international travel to the U.S.,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow  said in a statement.”Not only has no downturn materialized, but we have seen surprising strengthening in some areas, particularly the long-foundering domestic business travel segment.”

The travel uptick mirrors the rallying stock market, steady employment growth and other positive economic indicators. It should be noted that many of those indicators already were on an upward trend for many months before the election.

stock-graph
Stocks have rallied across indices: the Dow Jones Industrial Average (green line), the Standard & Poor’s 500 (blue line) and the Nasdaq (red line). Graphic is for the last six months. (Yahoo Finance)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the nation’s best stock baromoters, has gained 1,633 points since election day. Moreover, the Dow closed above 19,000 on Nov. 22 — for the first time in its 120-year history– and has been trading above that mark ever since then as investors expect more business-friendly regulations under Trump.

Today, the Dow was down 63 points as of 2:35 EST from Wednesday.

November travel trends

Travel within the United States accelerated in November, continuing a six-year expansion, according to the Travel Trends Index.

Most of the gains came from domestic leisure travel, which grew faster than domestic business travel. Still, domestic business travel reversed a trend where it was the only index segment to spend most of 2016 in negative territory.

International travel to the United States also rose in November, but at a slower pace due to pressures, such as global political and security disruptions and the strong U.S. dollar.

Outlook

Uncertainty still exists until Americans see more details about President-elect Trump’s policies.

The U.S. Travel Association predicts that overall U.S. travel will increase at an annual rate of about 1.8 percent through May, thanks to solid employment growth and healthy consumer spending. Once again, that growth will be led by domestic leisure travel based on forward-looking travel bookings, searches and vacation plans.

Adam Sacks, president of Oxford’s tourism economics group, expects international travel growth early this year will remain sluggish—and possibly decline—due to ongoing global political turmoil and the strong U.S. dollar.