New Report Measures Seasonal Influx Of Workers, Residents, Visitors Across Region
Northwest Michigan’s inhabitants rises and falls by 78 p.c in the course of the summer time, with guests making up 40 p.c of the area’s whole inhabitants within the peak month of July, in line with a brand new report from Networks Northwest and Beckett & Raeder. The research, the primary of its type since 2014, exhibits the dramatic influence the inflow of seasonal employees, guests and part-time residents is having throughout the area – together with infrastructure, emergency companies and housing availability.
These impacts — usually seen and felt on the native degree, however not clearly articulated within the knowledge, in line with Northwest Networks Community Development Director Rob Carson — are notably evident in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties, which have the very best focus. of short-term leases (STR) in 10. counties. When Networks Northwest launched its first report in 2014 on the area’s seasonal inhabitants, it didn’t embody knowledge on both STR guests or seasonal employees. But virtually a decade later, “there’s more concrete data that’s readily available” for these classes, Carson says, noting that the group is “much more comfortable with the numbers that came out of this study” due to the usage of up to date analysis methodologies.
The report supplies key seasonal inhabitants rely data throughout the 10-county space, together with Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties. According to the report, a rise of about 295,000 folks within the area in the course of the summer time was pushed “mainly by overnight visitors”. Of the 270,000 guests who arrive in the course of the July peak, roughly 82 p.c keep in “traditional lodging businesses such as hotels, motels and campgrounds,” the report mentioned. “The remaining in a single day guests keep at STR. On a month-to-month foundation, the area averages roughly 4,300 STR listings and roughly 213,000 obtainable room nights.”
According to the report, the area’s inhabitants of part-timers — individuals who personal second houses in Northwest Michigan — surged 636 p.c over only one four-month interval, from 13,130 in February to 96,566 by June. “As a highly seasonal region, employment levels fluctuate even within the region,” the report mentioned. “In the month of July, there are roughly 15,898 seasonal employees within the area, representing 10.4 p.c of the overall workforce.
Seasonal modifications in inhabitants and employment range by county. Below are some key findings from the report from the rapid five-county space:
Grand Traverse County: With a everlasting inhabitants of 95,238 people and a peak inhabitants of roughly 161,000, Grand Traverse has the biggest inhabitants in northwest Michigan. Despite having the very best variety of in a single day guests of all 10 counties, it additionally has probably the most secure everlasting inhabitants, which by no means drops beneath 60 p.c of the overall inhabitants. However, whereas Grand Traverse County has “one of the lowest numbers of part-time residents, indicating that seasonal homeownership is not as prevalent in Grand Traverse County,” the report additionally notes that a few of these seasonal houses “might have transformed to one of many 1,000 STRs within the county. About 1 / 4 of all STR listings within the area are in Grand Traverse County. The county additionally has probably the most seasonal employees, accounting for 30 p.c of the overall workforce seasonal of the area in July.
Leelanau County: “Leelanau County experiences the largest variation between offseason and offseason of any county in the region,” the report states. “The total population increases by 126 percent, reaching 60,094 individuals in the month of July. Growth has been driven by large numbers of part-time residents and overnight visitors.” The part-time population makes up over 20 percent of Leelanau’s total population in June, July and August — the most of any county. Overnight visitors approach 26,000; while most stay in “conventional lodging companies,” Leelanau additionally has the second-highest focus of STRs after Grand Traverse County, accounting for 16 p.c of the area’s listings. The variety of seasonal employees in Leelanau County peaks at about 1,100 employees in July.
County Antrim: In the low season, Antrim County’s year-round inhabitants of 23,431 people constitutes over 70 p.c of the overall inhabitants. But in the summertime, Antrim’s inhabitants approaches 60,000 folks, “fuelled by an influx of second home owners and overnight visitors”, in line with the report. STRs obtain extra guests than resorts in Antrim’s low season resulting from many companies closing for the winter. On common, Antrim County’s labor drive is 6.4 p.c seasonal, however exceeds 15 p.c within the month of June, roughly 1,700 people. “Housing for seasonal workers is an ongoing challenge for many workers and local businesses,” the report mentioned. “The lack of seasonal housing limits the pool of workers to those who live in the area or are lucky enough to find the few seasonal units.” Local companies like Short’s “have taken on the responsibility of providing seasonal housing,” the report states.
Benzie County: At 17,970, Benzie County has one of many area’s smallest everlasting populations. “However, in the month of July, when second-home owners and overnight visitors are counted, Benzie County becomes the third most populous county in the region,” the report mentioned. “The vital inhabitants progress has been pushed primarily by guests staying at lodging companies akin to campgrounds, resorts and motels. Those who say in STR additionally contribute to the in a single day customer increase, however they solely make up about 14 p.c of the overall in a single day guests within the month of July. For half of the 12 months, Benzie’s in a single day customer inhabitants is “larger than the permanent population and the second home population combined,” the report says.
Kalkaska County: Kalkaska is one other of the area’s smallest counties, with a complete inhabitants of 42,795 in July. The everlasting inhabitants of 17,939 makes up roughly 80 p.c of the overall low season inhabitants and roughly 44 p.c in the summertime. “Seasonal population growth is driven primarily by overnight visitors who stay primarily in campgrounds and RV parks,” the report mentioned. “There are very few STRs in Kalkaska County; (they) make up only two percent of regional listings in the month of July.” Kalkaska additionally has a “relatively small seasonal workforce, likely because there is only one community in the county (Village of Kalkaska) with a concentration of commercial activity.”
There are challenges and advantages to residing in a extremely seasonal area, in line with Carson. On the plus facet, Northwest Michigan is attracting giant numbers of tourists even with out faculty sports activities groups, arenas or giant outside leisure venues. “What we have is the natural beauty and resources that make up those (seasonal numbers) and that obviously benefit a lot of industries: food, housing, gas, retail, etc.,” he says.
However, the simultaneous improve in guests and seasonal employees could make lodging very aggressive and tough for summer time employees to safe. Businesses modeled on rising workers in the summertime and downsizing within the winter could make it difficult for workers to seek out regular, high-paying, year-round employment. The “surprising – almost alarming – number of STRs” additionally worries Carson concerning the charge at which long-term housing is being transformed to trip leases. Seasonal inhabitants will increase can pressure emergency and public companies, he says; this problem is exacerbated when firefighters, law enforcement officials, EMTs and nurses can’t afford or discover housing and so go away or flip down jobs. Infrastructure is one other problem: Many lakefront houses – constructed many years in the past – lack fashionable septic programs and had been supposed for single-family use. Having giant numbers of tourists rolling by these houses all summer time places a pressure on these programs, Carson says, finally posing a danger to native waterways.
According to Carson, the purpose of the brand new report is to assist municipal workers, planning commissioners and elected officers higher perceive the challenges going through their communities and create insurance policies to handle them — from regulating STRs to rewriting zoning guidelines to encourage extra density and roundhouses to put money into infrastructure. The latter particularly consists of broadband: Young professionals and households won’t ever overtake retirees shifting into the realm with out know-how that permits them to work remotely, Carson says. But with investments in broadband, employees might unfold to extra rural areas — locations like Copemish, Mesick, Kalkaska, Bellaire and Boyne City — which have cheaper houses and land, doubtlessly serving to to alleviate the housing disaster with out required residents to journey lengthy distances for work.
“When we have concrete data like this, we can try to tackle these challenges head-on in a professional context,” says Carson. “These are challenges that our communities need to plan for.”