In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy looks at the latest restaurant industry employment trends. The restaurant industry continued to register broad-based job growth in the first quarter of 2013, led by solid gains in the quickservice segment.
Restaurant industry job growth continues to outperform the overall economy, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eating and drinking places added a net 38,000 jobs in April on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the third consecutive month with a gain of at least 25,000 jobs.
In the roughly three years since the employment recovery began in March 2010, the eating and drinking place workforce has grown by 10 percent, or more than 935,000 jobs. During the same period, the number of private sector jobs rose 6.3 percent.
Although employment gains within the restaurant industry have been generally broad based, quickservice operators added the most jobs in recent months. Between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013, the quickservice segment added more than 164,000 jobs, an increase of 4.7 percent.
The snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – including coffee, donut and ice cream shops – posted similar growth, adding jobs at a solid 4.8 percent rate during the last four quarters.
Food service contractors (managed service providers) posted the strongest industry job growth during the last four quarters, with payrolls expanding at a robust 7.2 percent rate.
Meanwhile, the fullservice restaurant segment added jobs at a 1.8 percent rate between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013. Although the growth rate was below that of other major segments, the fullservice segment still added more than 82,000 jobs during the last four quarters.
The cafeteria/grill buffets/buffets segment was the only major category to shed jobs in recent months, as payrolls fell 3.8 percent during the last four quarters.
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Restaurant Industry Employment Trends
Figures are not seasonally-adjusted
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Restaurant Association
Note: Segment-level figures are one month lagged behind overall eating and drinking place figures