U.S. employers added 321,000 jobs in November, the biggest increase in jobs over a one-month span since 2012, the Labor Department reported on Friday. Employment gains were widespread across sectors, including hospitality and travel. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent, a six-year low.
According to the ADP Research Institute, franchise jobs sharply increased by 25,000 during the month of November. Of those new jobs, 1,820 were in the accommodations sector. Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute, said the sector has been a significant driver for the economic growth of franchise jobs overall, contributing 7 percent.
“The accommodations sector is consumer and business driven,” she said. “Increased consumer confidence and a better environment for business, along with a better job market, help boost consumer and business sentiments, which translates into strong growth for this sector.”
Additionally, ADP data revealed that private sector small business employment increased by 101,000 jobs in November. This accounted for nearly half of employment gains across all payroll size groups.
The travel industry experienced its fifth straight month of growth, adding 8,500 jobs in November and reaching another an all-time high, the U.S. Travel Association reported. Although slower than its 12-month average of 11,000 jobs per month, the travel industry continues to outpace the economy at 37 percent, said David Huether, vice president for research and development at the U.S. Travel Association.
“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,” Huether said. “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.”
The U.S Department of Commerce also released news that travel exports increased to $18.5 billion in October, slightly up from September, according to Huether. Travel exports, he said, have accounted for 17 percent of total export growth in 2014. This growth, he believes, can only help future employment in the industry.
“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 10 years can only be seen as great news for the economy, ensuring even more revenue from our fastest-growing source of overseas visitors.”
In response to the November job gains, Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said the hotel industry continues to be a key driver of the country’s economic recovery. “Our industry offers hard-working individuals good pay, benefits, and enormous potential to move up the ladder and build long-lasting careers,” Lugar said. “Over the course of the last four years, our industry has stood out as a leading example of growth and recovery by giving tens of thousands of men and women a chance to create their own American Dream and find success.”