WASHINGTON, DC - US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig announced today that the growth of spending on travel and tourism (including international visitor spending in the United States) continues to outpace the growth of the US economy (GDP), increasing at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Total travel and tourism-related employment rose 2.7 percent, accounting for nearly 7.8 million U.S. jobs. This represents the 19th consecutive quarter of job growth for the industry.
The United States is increasingly becoming the destination of choice for international travelers, which translates to job growth, ” Selig said. “Today’s data shows that the travel and tourism industry continues to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy.”
• Tourism Spending. Real spending on travel and tourism accelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing at an annual rate of 4.5 percent after increasing 3.4 percent (revised) in the third quarter. By comparison, real gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated, increasing 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 5.0 percent. The leading contributors to the acceleration were “passenger air transportation” and “recreation and entertainment.”
• Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries accelerated, increasing 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 2.0 percent (revised) in the third quarter. This marks the 19th consecutive quarter of employment growth for the industry. By comparison, overall U.S. employment increased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 2.2 percent in the third quarter. “Food services and drinking places” was the most significant contributor to employment growth (up 4.3 percent)
• Tourism Prices. Prices for travel and tourism goods and services decreased 3.4 percent during the fourth quarter, following an increase of 0.6 percent (revised) in the third quarter. The downturn was mainly attributable to a large decrease in “all other transportation-related commodities, ” which includes gasoline and automotive rentals. This commodity group decreased 19.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a 3.8 percent decrease in the third quarter.
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