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National Restaurant Association - Economist’s Notebook: Restaurants on pace to post strongest job growth in eight years

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Economist’s Notebook: Restaurants on pace to post strongest job growth in eight years

In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the August jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The national economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, the fourth month out of the last five with growth under 100,000.  In contrast, the restaurant industry added 28,300 jobs in August, and is on pace to register its strongest growth in eight years. 

National job growth remained uncomfortably slow in August, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The overall economy added a net 96,000 jobs in August, down from 141,000 jobs in July and the fourth time in the last five months with gains of less than 100,000 jobs. 

In comparison, the restaurant industry continued to do its part, with eating and drinking places* adding a net 28,300 jobs in August on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  The solid August performance followed a gain of 25,600 jobs in July, and pushed the post-recession tally to an impressive 628,000 net new jobs.

Driven by the recent gains, restaurants added jobs at a robust 2.9 percent rate on a year-to-date basis through August, more than double the 1.4 percent increase in total U.S. employment during the same period. If this growth continues as expected, it will mark the strongest restaurant employment gain since 2004, when the industry added jobs at a 3.1 percent rate.

Within the restaurant industry, job growth has been broad-based among the major segments. Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars – including coffee, donut and ice cream shops – led the way with a strong 5.0 percent employment gain on a year-to-date basis through July (detailed industry figures are one month lagged). Quickservice restaurants added jobs at 3.6 percent rate through July, while employment in the fullservice segment rose 2.8 percent.

Overall, the restaurant industry remains one of the bright spots in a labor market that has essentially been treading water in recent months.

Eating and Drinking Place Monthly Job Growth
58 Emp Month.gif Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; figures are seasonally-adjusted

*Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the restaurant industry and account for roughly three-fourths of the total restaurant/foodservice workforce.

For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).

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