If the Travel Industry Is Hiring, Can the Rest of Us Be Far Behind?
Everyone is looking for silver linings these days, as the jobs slump continues its slow—some might say “glacial”—recovery. So here’s what we think is a good one: The travel industry is making a strong comeback.
The travel industry is huge, of course, including not only airlines and hotels, but rental cars and entertainment, too. For this industry, 2009 was one of the worst years ever, with hotel occupancies at 54.6%, just a smidge above the all time low set in 1971.
No surprise that the weakness was felt in employment, too. For the airlines alone, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics calculated 28 consecutive months of decreases in full-time employment, all the way up to December 2010. The industry as a whole reached a low of 7.3 million jobs at the end of 2009.
But things certainly seem to be picking up. Since the low point in 2009, hotel occupancy has gone up to 59.8% and is projected to climb to 61% by the end of 2012. In total, the trael industry has added 224,000 jobs.
So what does this mean to you? Well, if you’re not involved with travel, nothing directly. But it does mean people are traveling again–for business and pleasure. And travel is a sign of confidence–in the possibilities of businesses and in the ability of consumers to pay for luxuries. Above all, it’s that confidence that signals the recovery may be accelerating.
Look at your own business. Does the knowledge that people are spending money again make you a little more confident? It should. If you’re still stuck in survival mode, maybe it’s time to shift to growth mode. The runway may be ready for takeoff.