The current Lodging Executives Sentiment Index reading is 55.4, up from 54.6 last period but down from 75 in the same period a year ago. This LESI indicates slightly faster economic expansion. A reading greater than 50 indicates lodging is expanding. One below 50 suggests the industry is declining; the distance from 50 shows relative strength and weakness. As one lodging executive surveyed said, “We're seeing a bit of slowdown with our transient business.”

The Present Situation Index registers a very slightly slower decline in business activity, reading 53.6 this period against last period's 55.6 and 78.3 during the same period a year ago. The 57.1 Future Expectations Index reading suggests that lodging executives surveyed feel that business conditions are expanding at a slightly faster rate than last period, which read 53.7, but far below last year's 71.7.

About 18 percent of respondents, down from 25.9 percent last period, indicated current business conditions were good, while 71.4 percent, up from 59.3 percent last period, termed them normal. Eleven percent, versus 14.7 percent last period, termed them bad, though 28.6 percent indicated they will improve in the next 12 months, up from 25.9 percent last period. Nearly 60 percent feel business conditions will be the same, up from 55.5 percent last period, while 14.3 percent think they will be worse. That's up from the 18.5 percent of pessimists last period.

Lodging executives expect an increase in rooms reservations as the Reservations Expectations Index reads 48.2 against last period's 46.3. A year ago this reading was 75.0. About a third indicated they expect rooms reservations to increase in the next 12 months compared to 22.2 percent last period. The same percentage felt the reservations would stay the same, and 35.8 percent indicated rooms reservations would decrease.

The Lodging Employment Index fell to 59.3 from last period's reading of 61.5 and that of 69.6 last year at this time. One-third of the lodging executives, versus 38.5 percent last period, expect to add non-management employees in the next 12 months.

; 50 percent expecting to maintain current levels, compared to 46.2 percent last period, while 14.7 percent of the executives reported they will lay off such employees versus 15.4 percent last period. During the same period last year, 39.2 percent felt they would increase such staff levels, 60.9 percent indicated they would maintain current levels.

The LESI is a leading economic indicator in the lodging sector and is based on opinions of lodging executives.

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