Job opportunities have been on the rise in the United States, with the U.S. Labor Department reporting that employers added 252,000 jobs to the market in December of last year. Though the travel industry has experienced a slight setback in job creation, the accommodations sector continued to grow. The overall unemployment rate decreased to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been in six years.
Additionally, according to the ADP Research Institute, 38,000 franchise jobs were added in December. Of those jobs, 2,790 were added in accommodations sector.
“I think there are a few factors that drove job growth in the accommodations sector in December, like lower oil prices, milder weather conditions and increased consumer confidence,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “I’d also say these factors boosted franchise employment overall and helped consumer-related industries.”
The ADP data also showed that 106,000 jobs were added to the small business sector.
Though the U.S. Travel Association reported that job growth in the travel industry dropped by 3,900 positions in December after a three-month hot streak, 2014 was fruitful for the industry.
“Overall, 2014 was a banner year for the travel industry,” said David Huether, senior vice president for economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association.
Huether explained that 133,600 travel industry jobs were added in 2014, with employment reaching more than 8 million. This marked the third consecutive year travel employment increased by more than 100,000 jobs.
“More Americans traveling and more international visitors coming to our shores has been a powerful force for job growth in recent years,” Huether continued. “Since the Great Recession, the travel industry has created 827,000 new jobs and has outpaced job growth in the rest of the economy by 35 percent.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce revealed that travel exports decreased to $18.4 million in November—down by $100,000, but still 1.2 percent higher than November 2013, according to Huether. Despite the negative numbers, Huether said travel exports in 2014 accounted for 12 percent of total export growth for the U.S. economy compared to 2013.
As for 2015, Huether has predicted another year of gains for the travel industry.
“With an improving labor market, moderate inflation, and increasing discretionary incomes, in part, from lower gas prices, travel is expected to continue to grow in 2015,” he described.