David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on Wednesday's Commerce Department announcement that the trade deficit deteriorated by $4.6 billion in July 2013 to $39.1 billion.
"After growing five of the first six months of the year, travel exports edged down slightly in July, falling $96 million to a level of $14.8 billion. This slight decline was in line with overall U.S. exports of goods and services, which also edged down 0.6 percent in July.
"Travel exports are outpacing agriculture and manufacturing exports as well as other service exports to the world. This powerful economic force of welcoming international travelers to our shores is one of the primary reasons why the travel industry has added jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the economy during the past three years and has already made up more than 90 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. We urge policymakers to support critical proposals to boost travel, such as the JOLT Act, critical proposals to boost travel, such as the JOLT Act, which would increase international spending in the United States and create more American jobs.
"Travel continues to be a leading export for the U.S. economy. Through the first seven months of 2013, travel exports increased 8.9 percent compared to the same timeframe in 2012, six times faster than the 1.5 percent rise in other U.S. exports of goods and services so far this year. As a result of growing much faster than other exports, the travel industry has generated 32 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports in 2013. And with travel exports growing faster than the 2.9 percent increase in travel imports, the travel trade surplus so far this year is running 25 percent higher than last year."