Published on : Wednesday, January 11, 2017
2016 started with a good note when more than 69,900 travel-related jobs were added in the hospitality and aviation sector as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. However, it was about 33.3 percent fewer jobs than that compared to 2015 where 93,200 jobs were added in across all the industries such as hotels, travel agencies, airports and museums.
Weaker demand in both international and domestic travel in the U.S. likely influenced the hiring decisions. Travel industry experts such as CEOs from Hilton Worldwide’s Christopher Nassetta or InterContinental Hotels Group’s Richard Solomons pointed to the weak bookings and global events for poor quarterly performances during some earnings calls.
Total U.S. travel industry employees as of December 31 numbered 31.9 million, a 1.91 percent increase from the all U.S. travel jobs in December 2015.
Contradicting others, Erika Richter, a spokesperson for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) said that BLS’ methodology for how it tracks travel industry jobs is probably missing the bigger picture.
About 201,800 Americans had jobs in travel arrangement and reservation services at the end of last year, a 0.2 percent decrease from December 2015. Richter added in the debate that BLS is only counting brick and mortar travel agencies which doesn’t represent the entire ecosystem of the travel industry. For instance, the home based travel agents account for more than 40,000 U.S. travel agent jobs and that she is unsure whether it is included in the data.
Regardless of piqued interest in travel agent careers, the fact that the sector ended the year with fewer jobs than it began with speaks to general uncertainty in the job market and the level of demand travellers had for agents last year. according to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel industry accounted for 3.2 percent of total non-farm U.S. jobs added in 2016 and directly supports one in nine American jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data found travel industry made job gains in every month in 2016 expect April, May and June when 2,100, 4,300 and 4,800 jobs, respectively, were lost.
Although it might not be a major layoff but it can work as a caution for the hiring managers and employers before heading towards 2017.