Saturday, August 10, 2013
America on vacation: The New Normal
More than 39.7 million visitors came here in 2012, a record. But those visitors spent notably less money per trip than during the last upturn — $1,021 per visit last year, compared with $1,318 spent by each of the 39.2 million visitors in 2007, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority — a sobering asterisk that has led many analysts to conclude that this high-rolling city is entering a less prosperous era.The total revenue from gambling and entertainment other than gambling was $15.3 billion in 2012, $500 million less than was spent in 2007.“The Strip is absolutely packed, downtown is packed,” said David G. Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “People are here. But they aren’t spending as much as they used to.”Less spending and less time.
We have been vociferous in the exposure of facts about the 'quality' versus 'quantity' of jobs in the 'recovery' but there is another sentiment-sapping angle to the employment environment in the US. As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone notes, the number of people with a job that were not at work in June or July because they were on vacation fell to 11.2 million this year from 11.59 million a year ago, a far cry from the 13.5 million vacationers in 2008 just prior to the Great Recession. Workers may be too uneasy with their situations to take off and enjoy the summer. Perhaps the need for a living real disposable personal income has kept them at their desks longer this year.