Industry welcomes more jobs, and more on the way

Rates and occupancy aren't the only industry metric on the rise. According to a new report from Marcus & Millichap, U.S. employers are on track to add 2.5-million jobs in 2015, with over 211,000 jobs added in November alone. Approximately 39,000 of those jobs were in the hospitality industry, which Marcus & Millichap attributes to new hotel and restaurant openings.

The report also found that recent increases in employee payroll during November may lead to an increase in overnight lending from the Federal Reserve. Wage growth across the industry remains positive, especially in November, with a 2.3-percent increase recorded over the past 12 months.

While wage increases may show as a positive trend for an improving economy, they could present undesirable effects for employers. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has been fighting against what they call "extreme wage initiatives" taking place in cities such as Los Angeles, increased its minimum wage to $15.37 earlier this year. The AH&LA has been fighting this increase since 2014, citing potential job losses and damage to small business owners such as hotel franchisees.


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New data from Investor's Business Daily show that this argument holds weight. The outlet cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics in reporting that employment in the downtown Los Angeles hospitality sector has shrunk by nearly 5 percent since mid-2014, while the rest of the state has seen job growth of nearly 2.5 percent. Wage increases, combined with mandates to pay for healthcare for full-time employees (and a California rule for three days of paid sick leave) comes to an increase of $6.86 per hour for hotels, up to $19.23 an hour for full-time workers.

Despite this, many hotels are continuing to adopt higher wages. In September, Vail Resorts increased its minimum wage for all employees to $10 per hour, basing increases on inflation and plans on raising it elsewhere in reactions to state legislation.

"We are taking this step because it is incumbent on us to do the right thing for our employees as well as remain competitive as an employer," Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, told the Denver Post in June after announcing the initiative.