Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Posts about Travel

Could falling gas prices boost jobs and travel during Memorial Day weekend?

Posted by: Dee DePass Updated: May 21, 2012 - 2:47 PM

Falling gas prices and an uptick in job security could boost travel and job growth this summer, said global outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas in a release Monday.

Company CEO John Challenger said, he expects that declining gas prices and improving job security "could entice more Americans to take advantage of vacation days during the upcoming peak travel season, which begins with the Memorial Day holiday....Lower gas prices make it far less painful for [workers] to hop in the car and get out of town for a long weekend."

Gas prices are still averaging about $3.69 a gallon. That's down from the $3.89 of just a few weeks ago. A recent report from the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 31 million Americans will hit the road in cars this coming holiday weekend, more than last year.

Gas prices aside, the summer economy could be helped by another trend.

Employers are beginning to shift from slashing workers to worrying about retaining workers, Challenger said. That shift bodes well for employees who have been too overworked and worried about potential layoffs to take time away from the office. That's beginning to shift, Challenger and other job placement firms report. 

If true, summer travel could see the first significant bump in years and that should translate into more job creation and help the leisure and hospitality industry, Challenger said.

In March the sector added 804,000 workers as more bars and restaurants added staff during a surge of warm weather. That hiring was up from 691,000 in March 2011. In April, the Labor Department reported that the nation added 322,000 hospitality jobs.

      

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