It was a strong month for employment in the travel and hospitality industries, which both experienced gains in February in an overall growing job market.
U.S. employers added 295,000 jobs in February, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. David Huether, senior vice president for economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, says the travel industry has been leading the pack, outpacing job growth in the rest of the economy by 33 percent since the employment recovery began. Travel industry employment rose for the eighth consecutive month, expanding payrolls by 16,600 in February.
“So far, the industry has added 75 percent more jobs than the first two months of last year, while creation in the rest of the economy is only up by 50 percent,” he explained. In other good news, industry exports reached a record high of $18.9 billion in January. With this strong trend, travel now accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. exports.
According to ADP data, the franchise and small business sectors also fared well in February. Franchises added 29,000 jobs, and employment rose by 1,200 within the accommodations sector. Small businesses experienced a boost, adding 94,000 jobs.
“Although accommodations contributed to 4 percent of the total franchise jobs created in February, compared to a year ago, growth has slowed down during the past three months,” stressed Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute.
The overall unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent in February. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said he is hopeful about the employment rates across the board.
“One of the most encouraging aspects of the ADP data is that the job gains remain relatively broad based across industry and company size,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot to derail the momentum that currently exists in the labor market.”