Travel industry added jobs in 2011, has good December

The travel industry accounted for 7 percent of the 1.6 million jobs created during the past 12 months, the U.S Travel Association reports.

“Over the last year, the travel industry expanded its employment base by 119,000 – doubling the jobs created by construction and real estate industries combined,” said David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association.

Huether’s remarks followed the release of the December employment numbers the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S saw employment increases in December 2011, according to the report.

“Nonfarm payroll employment added 200,000 jobs, exceeding expectations, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly three years,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Month by month, industry by industry, and state by state, America’s labor market grew stronger in 2011. We’re now seeing sustained job growth across almost every industry.”

Across the U.S., there were about 2 million private sector jobs created in 2011, and the unemployment rate fell in 45 states and the District of Columbia last year. Additionally, the number of mass layoffs continued to decline, with 14 of 19 industries reporting a decrease in layoffs over the year, Solis said.

“In December, job creation in the transportation industry rose sharply, and we saw significant employment gains in retail trade, manufacturing, health care, and leisure and hospitality,” Solis said.

Huether said December was a good month for the travel industry. After falling two of the three prior months, employment in the travel industry rebounded in December and rose by 7,000 to a level of 7,528,000, he said.

“Supporting good-paying American jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad, the travel industry has created jobs at a faster rate (2.9 percent) than the rest of the economy (2 percent) since the overall employment recovery began in March of 2010,”  he said. “Increasing travel to and within the United States is a key ingredient to providing the job opportunities for the 13 million Americans who continue to be unemployed.”