The travel industry made up 4.9%, or 30,800, of all nonfarm jobs added to the U.S. economy in the first quarter of 2012, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
"While employment grew at a slower pace in March, the travel industry still added 6,000 jobs, bringing the industry's total direct employment to 7,564,000," David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at U.S. Travel, said in a statement. "Since February 2011, travel employment has increased by 131,300."
The numbers came from the Labor Department's monthly jobs report released today, which indicated that 120,000 jobs were added in March.
Huether said that major increases in travel employment were in the restaurants, lodging and airline sectors, which offset declines in retail, amusements, gambling and recreation.
He warned that with Americans' intentions to travel "somewhat restrained compared to pre-recessionary levels ... this could slow travel employment gains in the coming months." Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.