The Lodging Executives Sentiment Index (LESI) dropped this month to 76.3 from 83.3 last period, its greatest decline since losing six points from June to July 2006 and its lowest reading since December 2004. During the same period last year, the LESI read 92.9, an all-time high. The Present Situation Index reads at 82.5, down from 90 last period and 92.9 during the same period a year ago. Although still in expansion mode, the Future Expectations Index decreased to 70.0 from 76.7 and from 92.9 last year.

Only 65 percent of respondents indicated that current business conditions are good, down from 80 percent last period, while 35 percent indicated current conditions are normal.

With regard to the future, 45 percent of respondents believe business conditions will improve in the next 12 months, 50 percent feel they will remain the same and five percent indicated they would be worse.

As for room reservations, lodging executives expect a decrease, with a Reservations Expectations Index reading of 72.5, down from last period's 78.3 and from 97.6 a year ago. This index asks lodging executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12 months. Fifty-five percent expect reservations to grow in the next 12 months, while 35 percent believe they will stay the same; 10 percent say reservations will decrease.

The Lodging Employment Index read at 81.6 versus last period's reading of 77.6 and that of 90.0 a year ago. The employment index asks lodging industry executives whether, over the next 12 months, they expect to 1) add the total number of non-management employees, 2) keep it about the same or 3) reduce it. Sixty-five percent indicated they expect to add employees, 30 percent expect to keep the total number of non-management employees the same and only five percent say they plan layoffs.

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