New York? The Travel Business Roundtable Index of Leading Economic Indicators increased at a 0.5% seasonally adjusted rate in April, the fourth consecutive monthly increase of 0.5% or more. In contrast, the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators decreased at a 0.1% rate in April. ?The consistent performance in industry employment is impressive,? said Dr. James Howell, chief economist of the Travel Business Rountable and creator of the TBR index. ?Not only is the travel and tourism industry growing rapidly, but it is also a significant contributor to job growth in the economy,? Howell said. The TBR Index?s strong rate of increase was broadly-based with increases occurring in eight of the nine sectors that comprise the TBR Index. These include: Airlines Reporting Corp. total sales; hotel/motel occupancy rate; consumer confidence; personal consumption expenditures for travel and related services; Air Transport Association revenue passenger miles; rental car price per day; travel/tourism employment; and retail sales at eating and drinking establishments. Of particular note, according to Howell, is that travel and tourism employment has posted solid gains in each of the last 13 months. The only decline in April was the hotel/motel revenue index, which Howell said has been a strong contributor to the growth of the industry and should increase in the months ahead. Industry?s Impact On Economy Initiated in 1997, the TBR Index calls attention to the economic importance of the travel and tourism industry and its impact on the U.S. economy. While individual sectors of the travel and tourism industry collect and publish information on individual performance, the TBR Index describes the aggregate impact of the industry on the economy. The TBR Index is released every month in conjunction with the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators. The Index is listed on the American Stock Exchange. The Travel Business Roundtable was launched in 1995 to educate legislative leaders on the national and state level of the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy.