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More people to travel this Labor Day, AAA says

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More people are projected to travel this Labor Day, a positive sign consumer spending is returning to normal.

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According to AAA, 34.7 million are expected to travel at least 50 miles this holiday. Of those, 86 percent, or 29.7 million, will be driving, a 1.4 percent increase.

The total number of projected travelers this holiday represents a 1.3 percent increase over last year. It’s also the highest number if travelers for a Labor Day holiday since 2008, AAA said.

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney said in a statement. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

The uptick in travelers this year seems to be a result of stronger consumer confidence. That’s despite airfare costs that are two percent higher than a year ago, daily car rental costs that remain consistent at $51 and modest growth in personal disposable income.

“This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation,” Doney said. Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year.”

In addition to the many travelers flocking to the nation’s roads, roughly eight percent of Labor Day travelers, or 2.65 million people, are expected to fly this Labor Day, a one percent increase from a year ago, AAA said.