David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today’s Commerce Department announcement that the trade deficit deteriorated by $4.9 billion in May 2013 to $45.0 billion, as the $0.5 billion fall in total exports was augmented by a $4.4 billion surge in imports from April.
“Travel exports continued to buck the trend in May. While overall U.S. exports fell in May – the third monthly decline so far this year – travel exports continue to be a source of durable strength for the U.S. economy, rising in May for the fourth time in the past five months. Moreover, with travel exports outpacing travel imports, America’s trade surplus in travel improved in May to exceed $4 billion.
“The travel industry continues to be a leading performer for the U.S. economy on the export front. While overall U.S. exports have slowed significantly this year, travel exports continue to increase at a healthy pace. Through the first five months of this year, travel exports are up 7.7 percent compared to the first five months of 2012, which is more than five times faster than the 1.4 percent increase in other U.S. exports so far this year. As a result, the travel industry has generated close to one-third (30%) of the overall increase in U.S. exports through May compared to the same timeframe last year.
“Today’s release clearly shows that welcoming international travelers to our country continues to be a shot of adrenaline to our economy. The ongoing increases in travel exports is one of the main reasons why the travel industry continues to grow faster than the rest of the overall economy since employment recovery began in early 2010. And it’s why policymakers should support legislation such as the JOLT Act that would increase international spending in the United States, build our positive travel trade balance and lower the unemployment rate by creating American jobs.”
U.S. Travel Association, www.ustravel.org