LODGING INDUSTRY 2013 WAGE FORECAST
The WageWatch 2013 survey of over 6,000 hotels nationwide in our database shows planned pay raises for hourly employees and non-exempt salaried employees averaging 2.8% with a median of 3.0% and a mode of 3.0%. The annual survey completed on January 7, 2013, further disclosed that hotels are planning on similar pay raises for their salaried exempt employees, with a mean of 3.0%, median of 3.0% and a mode of 3.0%. Randy Pullen, President and CEO of WageWatch stated, “For the lodging industry, 2013 will feel a lot like the 1993 movie Ground Hog Day starring Bill Murray, as WageWatch forecasts that pay raises for all sectors of the lodging industry will repeat raises experienced in 2012.”
If the planned wage increases for 2013 are further broken down between full service hotels and limited or focused service hotels, the survey discloses that full service hotels will, in general, have slightly higher pay increases. Full service hotels participating in the 2013 survey disclosed an average planned pay raise of 2.9% for hourly employees, with a median and mode of 3.0%. Focused service hotels had a slightly lower average pay raise for hourly employees of 2.8% with a median and mode of 3.0%. For salaried exempt employees, both full service and focused service hotels reported planned wage increases averaging 3.0% with a median and mode also of 3.0%.
Randy Pullen also stated, “While hotel companies are planning on pay raises of between 2.8% and 3.0% for 2013, it is likely that actual wage increases that will be reported later this year by WageWatch in its 2013 hotel wage survey will be two or three tenths of a percent less than the forecast. We saw a similar trend last year where actual wage increases for the lodging industry as reported in our iBrief Blog of October 24, 2012 Industry 2012 entitled Wage Increases- Part 1, were lower than the forecast, coming in at 2.6%.”
LODGING INDUSTRY 2013 EMPLOYMENT FORECAST
This year will see continued employment growth in the Accommodations segment of the Leisure and Hospitality super sector as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. saw significant gains in employment for the Lodging Industry the first half of 2012 as indicated in the following table:
WageWatch had forecast employment growth seasonally adjusted on average of 25,000 jobs in 2012 vs. 2011. As the year progressed, hoteliers became more conservative and did not hire as many seasonal workers during the summer months, which pulled down the average for the year. WageWatch attributes the pullback directly to the political uncertainty of the election year and the looming fiscal cliff impasse at yearend. This conclusion is based on the continued strong economic recovery that the industry experienced in 2012, which should have translated into more employment gains.
Our forecast for last year of a 25,000 increase in employment was based in part on the PKF Hospitality Research, LLC’s national econometric forecast of the U.S. Lodging markets for 2012. Actual performance for 2012 was better than forecast by PKF, with 61.5% occupancy, a 1.6% increase over 2011 yearend 59.9%. Actual Average Daily Rates came in slightly lower than forecast. Overall, RevPAR increased by 6.8%. Net operating income was forecast to increase by 12% for 2011 over 2010, a strong performance on the back of an 18% increase for 2010 over 2009. This level of growth in the lodging industry should have supported an increase of 25,000 jobs in 2012.
Looking ahead to 2013, most leading economists are forecasting continued slow but steady growth of the U.S. economy in the range of 2.0% or better. Expectations are for slow growth the first part of 2013 with stronger economic growth the second half of the year. This should result in continued growth for the lodging industry. Smith Travel Research is forecasting an increase in occupancy of 0.3% and an Average Daily Rate increase of $4.86 for the lodging industry, with RevPAR increasing by 4.9% for 2013. PKF Hospitality Research is slightly more optimistic with a RevPAR increase of 6.0% for 2013. Overall, the improving Average Daily Rate and occupancy numbers for the lodging industry will lead to stronger income statements for hotels, with net operating income growing by double digits in 2013.
Based on continued economic growth in the U.S. with the economy strengthening midyear and strong financial performance forecasts for the lodging industry for the year 2013, seasonal employment should increase significantly this summer with the Accommodations segment rebounding strongly, with employment growth of 20,000 jobs for the year. This will bring employment levels slightly above yearend 2008 levels, but still 50,000 jobs below the peak for yearend 2007.