LODGING SENTIMENT SLOWS DOWN

The current Lodging Executives Sentiment Index (LESI) reading is 72.0, down from a 75.0 reading of last period and a 85.7 reading in the same period last year. A reading greater than 50 indicates that the lodging industry is generally expanding and below 50, generally declining. The distance from 50 indicates the strength of expansion or decline. This LESI suggests continued economic expansion in lodging with this period's Present Situation Index registering a slightly slower change in business activity to 80.0 from 81.5 last period and 95.2 during the same period a year ago. The Future Expectations Index is 64.0, slightly down from 68.5 last period and 76.2 last year.

Sixty percent of respondents say current business conditions are good, compared to 63 percent last period, while 40 percent term them normal. None say conditions are bad. With regard to future business conditions, 32 percent think they will be better in the next 12 months, down from 44.4 last period; 64 percent feel they will be the same, while four percent indicated business conditions will be worse 12 months from now.

Lodging executives expect a slight decrease in volume of rooms reservations as compared to last period: this Reservations Expectations Index reads 74.0 versus last period's 77.8; the reading year to date was 76.2. This index asks lodging executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12 months. Fifty-six percent indicated they expected rooms reservations to increase in the next 12 months as against 63 percent last period.

The Lodging Employment Index inched up to 70.8 over last period's reading of 70.4. This index asks lodging executives whether, over the next 12 months, they expect to add non-management employees, maintain current levels or reduce them. As with rooms reservations, we see a modest increase over the last four periods. A year ago to date, the index read 75.0; 45.8 percent of lodging executives, versus 48.1 percent last period, indicated they expect to add such employees; 50 percent, versus 44.4 percent last period, expect to keep current levels; 4.2 percent predict layoffs, versus 7.4 percent last period.

The LESI was developed and is maintained by the University of New Hampshire's Hospitality Management Department. A leading economic indicator in the lodging sector, it is based on opinions of lodging executives and satisfies the need for real-time information for executive decision-making in the lodging industry.

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