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The travel industry lost 2,900 jobs in December 2012 despite the fact that industries such as healthcare, food services, manufacturing, and construction all contributed to a nonfarm payroll employment increase of 155,000.

There is no “travel” category in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ just-issued December employment report as they fall into several sectors.

But, David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, interpreted the BLS report as reflecting 2,900 jobs lost in the travel industry compared with November.

In contrast, the following industries posted job gains: healthcare (45,000); food services and drinking places (38,000); construction (30,000), and manufacturing (25,000), according to the BLS.

Other industries, such as the retail trade, mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, professional and business services, and government, experienced little change in their employment ranks in December, the BLS says.

Despite the 2,900 job dip in December, the travel industry added 81,000 jobs in 2012, Huether says.

The U.S. Travel Association lobbies for travel industry goals, and tends to look at the bright side even when the monthly employment numbers dropped.

“Currently employing 7.6 million Americans, the travel industry added more jobs last year than many other industries including educational services, real estate, construction, utilities, information, and mining,” Huether says. “Creating jobs 14 percent faster than the rest of the economy, the travel industry has recovered 61 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession compared to 54 percent in the rest of the economy.”

The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. remained at 7.8%, and it has been around that mark since September.

Tags: labor, usa
Photo Credit: The travel industry added a lot of jobs in 2012, but December wasn't a good month. Alan White /