On Monday, SeaWorld reported attendance and revenue jumped at its theme parks in the second quarter of 2018, sending its stock price soaring by double digits. A day later, the company announced it would eliminate 125 positions across its parks and Orlando-based corporate offices.
The job cuts had been foreshadowed in Monday’s earnings call by SeaWorld interim CEO John Reilly. He told financial analysts and reporters the company had “already identified and are executing” on $50 million in cost savings with more to come.
“We remain committed to providing our guests with inspiring experiences that matter and to continue the world-class care for our animals, including animal rescue, rehabilitation and ocean conservation efforts,” the company said in a statement announcing the cuts.
A spokesperson with SeaWorld’s corporate office declined to discuss specific positions which may have been eliminated and the company did not specify how of the affected jobs were based in Orlando.
SeaWorld has faced multiple rounds over layoffs over the last several years. Most recently, it cut 350 positions across the company in October 2017. Its parks have reported a small decline in the number of full-time employees: in its 2016 annual report, the company reported employing approximately 5,000 full-timers, which dropped to 4,900 by the end of 2017. In the same period, the number of part-time workers jumped to 8,300 to 11,300 and seasonal employment dropped from 13,000 workers to 5,000.
Those cuts, however, came during the downward slide for SeaWorld in attendance and revenue following the release of the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which criticized the parks’ use of captive orcas.
Now the parks appear to be making a comeback. Through the first six months of 2018, attendance across all SeaWorld-owned parks is up 8 percent.