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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant job growth remains broad-based

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Restaurant job growth remains broad-based

Restaurants continued to be among the leaders in job growth in June, with gains spread out across industry segments.  Job growth is expected to remain solid during the second half of the year, as restaurants continue to benefit from an improving economy and stronger consumer sentiment, according to NRA’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy.

The national labor market continued to heat up in June, with restaurants remaining among the strongest growth sectors.  According to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national economy added a net 288,000 jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the fifth consecutive month with gains of at least 200,000 jobs. 

In total, the national economy added nearly 1.4 million jobs during the first half of 2014, the strongest six-month performance in more than eight years.

Restaurants continued to be among the leaders in job growth, with the industry adding a net 32,800 jobs in June and more than 173,000 jobs during the first six months of the year.  Overall, restaurant employment was up 3.1 percent on a year-to-date basis through June 2014, nearly double the 1.7 percent gain in total U.S. employment.

Job growth within the restaurant industry has been broad-based in 2014, just as it has been throughout the post-recession period.  On a year-to-date basis through May 2014 (segment-level figures are lagged by one month), quickservice restaurants added jobs at a strong 4.0 percent rate.  This puts the quickservice segment on pace to post job growth of at least 4 percent for the third consecutive year.

The fullservice segment added jobs at a 2.9 percent rate through the first five months of 2014.  While this is down somewhat from the consecutive 3.4 percent gains registered in 2012 and 2013, fullservice employment gains remain well above job growth in the overall economy.  

Meanwhile, the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – which includes concepts such as coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added jobs at a robust 6.1 percent rate on a year-to-date basis through May 2014.  If this trend continues, it would represent this segment’s strongest growth since 2007, as well as the third consecutive year with employment gains above 5 percent.

Look for these positive growth trends to continue through the remainder of the year, as the restaurant industry continues to benefit from an improving economy and stronger consumer sentiment.

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

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