Restaurant job growth was broad-based in 2014, as the industry added jobs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. California and Nevada led the way in 2014, and both states have seen their restaurant workforces expand by more than 11 percent during the last two years, according to the NRA’s chief economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.
The restaurant industry added jobs at a strong 3.5 percent rate in 2014, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2014 gain marked the third consecutive year with growth of at least 3.5 percent, and the 15th straight year in which restaurant job growth outpaced the overall economy.
On the state level, restaurant industry job growth was broad-based in 2014, as restaurants added jobs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. However, 2014 represented the first year since 2010 that any of the U.S. states saw a decline in restaurant jobs.
California set the pace in 2014 with a robust 5.6 percent increase in restaurant jobs, while Nevada followed closely behind at 5.5 percent. The 2014 gains marked the continuation of solid restaurant payroll expansion in both states. California’s restaurant job growth built on a solid 5.5 percent gain 2013, while Nevada’s 2014 increase followed 2013’s strong 6.0 percent gain.
For California, 2014 represented its first time leading the nation in restaurant industry job growth in the history of the BLS industry-level data series, which dates back to 1990. Meanwhile, Nevada posted the strongest restaurant job growth 10 years during this period, led by a record 13.5 percent gain in 1994.
Elsewhere, Florida and Georgia both added restaurant jobs at a strong 4.8 percent rate in 2014, while Idaho (4.4 percent), Texas (4.3 percent), Colorado (4.3 percent), Washington (4.2 percent) and Utah (4.0 percent) all added jobs at rates well above the national average.
In terms of total jobs added, California led the way with a net increase of 66,700 restaurant jobs in 2014. The Texas restaurant industry added a net 38,900 jobs in 2013, while Florida’s restaurants added 32,100 jobs.
In 39 states and the District of Columbia, restaurant industry job growth outpaced the overall economy in 2014. The differential between restaurant job growth and total job growth was largest in the District of Columbia at 2.8 percent. Restaurants in California (+2.6%), Mississippi (+2.5%), Alabama (+2.4%) and Arkansas (+2.2%) also added jobs at rates well above their overall economies in 2014.
Although North Dakota’s overall economy led the nation with a strong 3.8 percent employment gain in 2014 – the sixth consecutive year in which the Peace Garden State led the nation in total job growth – its restaurant industry added jobs at a slower pace.