Feature Article - June 2019
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2019 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Some 52.7 percent of respondents to the 2018 survey said they expected the number of people using their facilities to increase from 2017 to 2018. This year's survey showed slightly fewer (50.5 percent) respondents reporting that such an increase had taken place. Another 39.9 percent said usage of their facilities had remained the same, while 9.6 percent said usage had decreased. Interestingly, these figures are virtually unchanged from 2017. (See Figure 20.)

Looking forward, the percentage of respondents expecting to see further increases in the number of people using their facilities grows over the next two years, while the percentage expecting a drop in numbers falls. From 2018 to 2019, 52.9 percent of respondents expect an increase in the number of people using their facilities, while 5.5 percent are anticipating a decrease. And from 2019 to 2020, 55.3 percent of respondents said they expect an increase, while just 2.9 percent said they are anticipating a decline.

From 2017 to 2018, respondents from rec centers, parks and Ys were the most likely to report that the number of people using their facilities had increased, while those from schools were the least likely to report an increase. Some 60 percent of rec center respondents said the number of people using their facilities grew from 2017 to 2018. They were followed by parks (57.7 percent) and Ys (51.4 percent). Less than one-third of schools (30.3 percent) said the number of people using their facilities had increased in that time frame.

Looking forward, the same respondents who are most likely to have seen increases in the past continue to anticipate further increases. From 2018 to 2019, 67.9 percent of rec center respondents said they expect an increase. They were followed by parks (59.5 percent) and health clubs (57.4 percent). And from 2019 to 2020, 62.6 percent of rec center respondents are anticipating an increase in usage, followed by parks (61.1 percent) and Ys (58.5 percent).

Staffing

There was a slight increase in the average number of people employed at the organizations covered by the survey. After seeing a significant drop in average number of employees in the 2018 report, this year's respondents reported an increase of 6.4 percent, from 115.6 in 2018 to 123 in 2019. On average, this year's survey respondents employ 26.7 full-time workers, 47.9 part-time employees, 47.2 seasonal workers, 42 volunteers, and 12 employees of some other designation.

As is generally the case, Ys employ the highest number of employees, with an average of 221.2 total employees. They were followed by colleges, with an average of 138.1, and parks, with 130.4. Health clubs employ the smallest number of employees, with an average of 79. They were followed by schools, with 90.1. (See Figure 21.)

Schools have the largest number of full-time employees by far, with an average of 59.3, though this is significantly lower than the average of 67.5 reported in 2018. They were followed by colleges, with 26.8, and Ys, with 24.9. Camps had the smallest number of full-time employees, with an average of 15.1.

Ys employ the most part-time workers, with an average of 119. They were followed by colleges, with 93.3, and health clubs, with 44.3.

Seasonal employees were employed in greater numbers by Ys and parks. On average, Y respondents said they employ 57.5 seasonal workers, and park respondents employ 56.8. They were followed by camps, with 50.9.

Finally, as usual, volunteers were most common among Ys, where respondents make use of an average of 76.9 volunteers. They were followed by parks, with 50.3, and rec centers, with 48.7 volunteers, on average.