Feature Article - June 2020
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2020 Report on the State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


There was a slight decrease in the average number of people employed at the organizations covered by the survey. While in 2019, respondents said they employed an average of 124 workers, in 2020, respondents employed an average of 119.5 workers. On average, in January 2020, survey respondents employed: 31.1 full-time employees (up from 26.7 in 2019); 45.6 part-time employees (down from 47.9), 51.2 seasonal workers (up from 47.2), 46.4 volunteers (up from 42), and 12 employees of "other" designations.

As is generally the case, Ys employ the highest number of employees, with an average of 208.4 total employees, down from 221.2 in 2019. They were followed by parks and recreation respondents, who employed an average of 129.8 workers, and rec centers, with 105.6. The smallest number of people were employed by health clubs, with an average of 50.7 employees in 2020. (See Figure 21.)

From 2015 to 2020, the percentage of respondents who report that they plan to add staff at their facilities has hovered just above or below one-fifth. In 2020, 22.2% of respondents said they were planning to add more staff at their facilities, down slightly from 23.2% in 2019. At the same time, 74.7% of respondents said they were planning to maintain existing staffing levels, and 3.1% were planning a reduction. (See Figure 22.)

That said, in the wake of COVID-19, nearly two-thirds (65.7%) of respondents to the Update Survey said they had put hiring plans on hold, and 44.8% said they had laid off or furloughed their existing staff.