In 2016, leisure and hospitality jobs accounted for about 11.5 percent of
nonfarm wage and salary jobs in California. While some of leisure and hospitality activity is associated with tourism, many of these jobs serve the local population more so than the region’s tourists and business travelers. Jobs in this industry include lodging, food services, the performing arts, museums, amusement parks and gambling establishments. Leisure and hospitality employment grew by 3.7 percent in 2016 to 1.9 million jobs, with an additional expected gain of 1.8 percent in 2017 and 1.5 percent the following year.
After once again achieving record high employment levels in 2016, leisure and hospitality jobs in Orange County are projected to increase by 2.1 percent to 215,500 workers in 2017, with an additional 2.2 percent gain expected in 2018. Orange County has a total of 507 hotels providing 58,723 rooms for business and leisure travelers. Attractions such as Disneyland, Fashion Island and scenic beaches are drawing increasing numbers of international visitors, particularly from China and the Middle East. At 78.3 percent the average hotel occupancy rate in 2016 was little changed over the year, while revenue per room increased from $113.25 in 2015 to $118.11 last year. Orange County is also a major convention destination. The Anaheim Convention Center has gone through seven major expansions since it was first constructed in 1967. The recently unveiled 100,000 square foot Grand Plaza will be joined this year by an additional 200,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.
Employment in leisure and hospitality industries has posted annual consecutive increases in employment since 2011. However, the lion’s share of jobs in this sector is in food services. From 2016 to 2018, the sector is projected to add 18,880 new jobs, growing by 1.8 percent annually on average. Most of the new jobs added will continue to be in food services.
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[Above information and statistics are courtesy of LAEDC.ORG.]