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by Michael J. Shapiro | October 10, 2012

With disappointing job gains and the imminent presidential election, businesses are taking a more cautious approach to travel, according to the Global Business Travel Association's BTI Outlook–United States, released Tuesday. The report cites economic turmoil in Europe and slower growth in China as other contributing factors for the slowed rate of growth. U.S. business travel spending is now expected to grow 2.6 percent for 2012, reaching $257 billion by year's end. While that is actually a higher rate than the 2.2 percent GBTA predicted in the last quarter, the growth is due primarily to higher travel costs. Total business trip volume for the year is currently forecast at 438.1 million, compared with 445 million in 2011. For 2013, GBTA is forecasting business travel spend to grow by 4.9 percent, to $270 billion, and trip volume to fall by 1.1 percent. "Corporations are in a wait-and-see mode and holding back on investment decisions that would help boost the economy," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick in a statement. "While companies aren't cutting their business travel spend and we're still seeing very modest growth, we are cautious about the outlook for the next several quarters."