ORLANDO, Fla. -- As a farewell to summer and a sign the economy is improving, 34.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend. This marks the highest volume since 2008 and a 1.3-percent increase over last year, according to AAA Travel.
"As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year," said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. "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 Labor Day holiday is defined as Thursday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 1.
AAA predicts that automobile travel will increase 1.4 percent this year as 29.7 million travelers hit the road.
"This year, Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation," Doney added. "Consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income, indicating that Americans are comfortable using their credit cards to take one last summer vacation this year."
Additionally, most U.S. consumers paid the lowest gas prices for early August since 2010. AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, although lower prices could help make travel more affordable.
Gas prices will likely remain relatively low, provided that a major event, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, doesn’t occur. The current average price of a regular gallon of gas is $3.44 compared to $3.59 last year.
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight.