Hospitality Sector Adds 17,000 Jobs in July

(Hospitality sector job growth article updated with analyst commentary.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. economy added 17,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector in July, with a majority of the gains coming in the arts, entertainment and recreation.

While job growth is certainly better than job reductions, July's gains were less than half the gains seen in June, when the leisure and hospitality sector added 35,900 jobs, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Industry data has been showing increased lodging demand for many quarters now," Rodman & Renshaw analyst Robert LaFleur told TheStreet. "More demand equals more occupied rooms which equals a greater need for desk clerks, bellmen, maids, laundry workers, etc. Regardless of what the stock market might make you think, business in the hotel industry gets a little bit better every day than it was the day before and that is good for employment."

Of the 17,000 new jobs last month, 13,500 were classified under arts, entertainment and recreation. Jobs in performing arts and spectator sports, which includes Madison Square Garden ( MSG) in New York City and Live Nation Entertainment ( LYV), added 5,500 jobs last month as large arenas and concert venues geared up for the summer concert season, though clearly much of the hiring had been done earlier in the season since the subsector added 14,400 jobs in June.

Amusement parks like Six Flags Entertainment ( SIX) and casinos like Wynn Resorts ( WYNN), Las Vegas Sands ( LVS) and MGM Resorts ( MGM) added 7,400 jobs in July. As in arts, entertainment and recreation, the amusement, gambling and recreation subsector had completed much of its seasonal hiring early on; the subsector added 17,200 jobs in June.

Museums, historical sits, zoos and parks showed the slimmest gains within leisure and hospitality last month, adding just 600 jobs, after hiring 2,700 workers in June.

Accommodation and food service jobs, which includes restaurants like McDonald's ( MCD) and Starbucks ( SBUX), and hotel chains like Marriott ( MAR) and Starwood ( HOT), grew its workforce by 3,000 jobs in July, after hiring 29,300 jobs in June, in anticipation of the summer travel season and as travel trends in general began to pick up steam.

The overall employment rate fell to 9.1% in July, from 9.2% in June.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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