In his latest commentary, Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association's chief economist, breaks down the latest jobs report.
Eating and drinking places added a net 38,000 jobs in December, their second-strongest monthly gain of 2012.
Restaurants continued to add jobs at a robust pace in December, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Eating and drinking places — the primary component of the restaurant industry, which accounts for roughly three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce — added a net 38,000 jobs in December on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
December's solid hiring output was the second-strongest gain of the year, finishing only behind a net increase of 39,600 jobs in August. In total, eating and drinking places added a net 285,600 jobs during 2012.
Overall, the national economy added a net 155,000 jobs in December, which is generally on trend with the job growth registered during the second half of 2012. Job growth was broad-based in December, with the health care (45,000) construction (30,000), manufacturing (25,000), professional-and-business services (19,000) and financial activities (9,000) sectors all posting employment gains.
Although the national economy added more than 1.8 million jobs during 2012, it still remains roughly 4 million jobs down from the prerecession peak in January 2008. Steady job growth is expected in 2013, but full employment recovery will not likely occur until late 2014.
For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper at www.restaurant.org/trendmapper (subscription required).