EXECUTIVE SENTIMENT CREEPS UP

The LESI (Lodging Executives Sentiment Index) index for the current period is 55.7, up from 53.8 last period but down from 69.0 during the same year-to-date period last year. This very slight increase in the LESI indicates continued economic expansion in the lodging sector, although several executives in the survey group were cautious.

The Present Situation Index suggests a very slight uptick in business activity, reading 56.8 this period against last period's reading of 55.8 and 78.0 during the same period a year ago. The Future Expectations Index is up slightly as well to 54.5 from 51.9 last period and 60.0 a year ago to date. An index reading greater than 50 indicates that the lodging industry is generally expanding while a reading below 50 indicates that the sector is generally declining, with the distance from 50 indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline.

More than one-fourth of respondents indicated that current business conditions are good — down slightly from 30.8 percent last period — with 59.1 percent indicating current conditions are normal, as against 50.0 percent indicating normal economic conditions last period.

With regard to future business conditions, 27.3 percent of the lodging executives believe business conditions will be better in the next 12 months, against 30.8 percent last period. Eighteen percent of executives think business conditions will be worse 12 months from now, against 26.9 percent who thought so last period.

Lodging executives expect a very slight decrease in the volume of rooms reservations compared to last period, as the Reservations Expectations Index reads 45.5 versus last period's index reading of 46.2.

The Lodging Employment Index moved upward to 63.6 versus last period's reading of 57.7 last period and 66.7 last year at this time. More than a third (36.4 percent) of respondents, versus 38.5 percent last period, expect to add non-management employees over the next 12 months.

, while 36.4 percent expect to keep the total number of non-management employees the. During the same period last year, 41.7 percent felt they were going to add non-management employees, 50 percent felt that they would keep the number of employees the same, and 8.3 percent indicated that they were going to reduce the total number of non-management employees.

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