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Travel second fastest-growing of all US industries

By on May 9, 2014

Data released by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis strongly suggests that the travel industry is playing a pivotal role in leading the United States economic recovery.

The BEA’s first-ever estimates of GDP growth by industry show that travel posted the No. 2 growth rate of all U.S. industries in 2013, trailing only the agricultural sector.

In the fourth quarter, overall real GDP growth slowed to an annual pace of 2.6 percent while travel growth actually accelerated to a 4.2-percent rate in the fourth quarter. Travel dramatically outpaced the rest of the economy for the year, growing more than three percent compared to 1.9 percent for all sectors.

Department of Labor statistics have found that the travel sector has recovered 138 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession, versus only 92 percent for the U.S. economy overall. Inbound international travel—counted as an export—grew at a rate of 9.1 percent in 2013—more than four times faster than other goods and services—and remains the United States’ third-largest export.

“If U.S. political leaders want to enact policies that facilitate GDP and jobs growth—and they certainly need to be doing that based on the indications of still-sluggish recovery—then they should be looking to the travel and tourism sector,” said David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association in a statement. “The BEA report just adds to the case that travel is the poster child for post-recession success. It benefits virtually every region of the country, its jobs are of outstanding quality, and it has achieved what it has with little or no assistance from the government.


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