Feature Article - June 2014
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A Look at Regional Trends

Regional Information


Budgets & Members

When it comes to the number of people using their facilities, respondents in the South Atlantic and Western regions are most likely to report increasing usage, year over year, from 2012 through 2015. From 2012 to 2013, 57.9 percent of South Atlantic respondents and 53.8 percent of Western respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased. From 2013 to 2014, 57.4 percent of Western respondents and 57 percent of South Atlantic respondents expect further increases. And from 2014 to 2015, 63.9 percent of South Atlantic respondents and 57 percent of Western respondents expect usage to grow. (See Figure 30.)

Respondents in the Midwest were the least likely to report that the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2012 to 2013. Less than half (47.1 percent) of Midwestern respondents said usage had increased in that year. From 2013 to 2014, Northeastern respondents are least likely to expect increasing usage, but from 2014 to 2015, Midwestern respondents are again the least likely to report that they expect the number of people using their facilities to grow.

Just as they are the most likely to be expecting increasing usage at their facilities, respondents in the West and South Atlantic regions also employ the most people. Respondents in the West lead with an average staff of 133.3 people, followed by the South Atlantic with 129.7. They were followed by the Northeast, at 125.3; the Midwest, at 124.5; and the South Central region, at 115.8. Likewise, respondents in the South Atlantic and Western regions are the most likely to report that they have plans to add more staff this year. Some 22.6 percent of South Atlantic respondents and 21.4 percent of Western respondents said they would be adding staff. Respondents in the Midwest were least likely to be planning to add staff, with 14 percent indicating they had plans to do so. Falling in between, 14.3 percent in the Northeast and 18.5 percent in the South Central region have plans to add staff.

Respondents from the West were the most likely to report that their revenues had increased from 2012 to 2013. Some 43.9 percent of Western respondents indicated that their revenues had risen in that year. They also were the most likely to expect revenues to increase from 2014 to 2015, with 49.8 percent projecting an increase in 2015. From 2013 to 2014, the South Central region is the most likely to expect revenues to grow, with 47.1 percent of South Central respondents projecting revenue growth in that year.

Respondents in the Midwest were the most likely to report that their revenues had fallen from 2012 to 2013, and also were most likely to expect declines in 2014. Some 16.5 percent of Midwestern respondents said that their revenues had declined from 2012 to 2013, and 10.3 percent project a decline in 2014. From 2014 to 2015, South Central respondents are the most likely to project declining revenues, with 7.4 percent of these respondents expecting a de-crease in that year.

Respondents from the West reported the highest average operating expenditure of all respondents for fiscal 2013 at $1,561,000, 9.1 percent higher than the average for all respondents. Respondents in the South Central and South Atlantic states also reported average operating expenditures that were higher than the average for all regions. For those in the South Central region, the average operating budget was 8.5 percent higher than for all respondents in 2013, and for those in the South Atlantic, it was 7.1 percent higher. Respondents in the Northeast and Midwest reported average operating expenditures for fiscal 2013 that were lower than the average for all respondents by 10.1 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively. (See Figure 31.)

In every region but the South Central states, respondents reported a decline in operating expenditures from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013. The greatest decrease was seen in the Northeast, where operating expenditures fell from an average of $1,358,000 in fiscal 2012 to $1,287,000 in fiscal 2013. The Midwest reported a 4.9 percent decrease, and the South Atlantic region and Western region followed, at 4.7 percent and 3 percent respectively. In the South Central states, on the other hand, average operating expenditures increased by 14.3 percent from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013.

All regions project operating expenditures to increase from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2015, with the greatest increase found in the South Central region. In the South Central region, operating expenditures are projected to grow by 20.6 percent from $1,359,000 in fiscal 2012 to $1,639,000 in fiscal 2015. More modest increases are expected in other regions, led by the Midwest, where respondents project an increase of 4.8 percent from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2015.

A majority of respondents in all regions reported that they had taken actions to reduce their operating expenditures at their facilities. Those in the Northeast and in the West were the most likely to report that they had done so, while those in the South Central region were least likely. Some 85.5 percent of Northeastern respondents and 85.4 percent of Western respondents indicated that they had taken actions to reduce expenditures, compared with 79.3 percent of respondents in the South Central region. Falling in between, 83.6 percent of Midwestern respondents and 83 percent of South Atlantic respondents reported that they had taken such action.

Respondents from the Midwest were the most likely to have improved energy efficiency (54.4 percent of Midwestern respondents, compared with 51.2 percent of all respondents) or shortened their season of operation (9.3 percent vs. 8.3 percent). Respondents from the West were the most likely to report that they had increased fees (46.7 percent vs. 41.5 percent of all respondents), reduced staff (41.3 percent vs. 37.8 percent), put construction or renovation plans on hold (32.9 percent vs. 29.5 percent), or cut programming or services (26.8 percent vs. 21.8 percent). Respondents from the South Atlantic region were the most likely to have reduced their hours of operation (23.7 percent vs. 20.1 percent of all respondents). And respondents from the South Central region were the most likely to have closed facilities (7.8 percent vs. 6.8 percent of all respondents).