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National Restaurant Association - Economist's Notebook: National economy hit speed bump in August

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Economist's Notebook: National economy hit speed bump in August

The national economy added just 142,000 jobs in August, which represented the smallest gain since December.  However, the slowdown is most likely just a temporary blip on an otherwise positive trajectory, with job growth expected to get back on track in the months ahead, according to the NRA’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy.

After enjoying six consecutive months with job growth topping the 200,000 level, the economy hit a speed bump in August.  The national economy added a net 142,000 jobs in August, the smallest gain since December 2013, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite the August slowdown, the economy averaged monthly gains of more than 215,000 during the first two-thirds of 2014, and remains on pace to register its strongest calendar-year growth in 15 years. 

For their part, restaurants continued to be solid contributors to the employment recovery.  Eating and drinking places added a net 21,500 jobs in August on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the 54th consecutive monthly gain for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. 

The August slowdown is most likely just a temporary blip from a positive growth trajectory, and not a case of the economy being out over its skis in recent months.  Look for employment gains to once again top the 200,000 threshold in the months ahead, which will help boost consumer confidence and household spending.

Read more from the Economist’s Notebook and get additional analysis of restaurant industry trends on the newly revamped Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).

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