The year started off strong for the job market, with employment rising by 257,000 in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Of the new job additions, the travel industry expanded by 13,500. The unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, just slightly above December’s six-year low.
This increase has been paramount to the success of the industry, bringing employment to a record high of 8.1 million jobs in travel, according to David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association.
“The employment gain generated [in January] was slightly larger than the average monthly rise in 2014, a good indication that the industry is starting off the year on solid footing,” he said.
Although employment numbers for small businesses in January were significantly lower than in December, 78,000 jobs were still created, according to ADP’s Small Business Employment Report.
Franchises also experienced a dip in employment, with 26,000 jobs added in January as opposed to December’s addition of 38,000 jobs. In particular, the accommodations sector lost 450 jobs.
“Though down from a strong December, franchise job gains in January were still above the 12-month average,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute.
On the upside, travel exports increased dramatically in December. “One bright spot in Thursday’s otherwise gloomy Commerce Department report is that while other exports of goods and services fell for a second consecutive month in December, travel exports rebounded in December and increased by $400 million, the eighth increase in the past 12 months and the biggest rise since August,” Huether said.