Restaurant industry job growth rebounded in April from a March downtick, which represented the industry’s first monthly employment drop in more than five years. Despite the March slowdown, both the restaurant industry and the overall economy remain on pace to post healthy job growth in 2015, according to the NRA’s chief economist Bruce Grindy. His Economist’s Notebook commentary and analysis appears regularly on Restaurant.org and Restaurant TrendMapper.
The restaurant industry registered a moderate employment gain in April, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Eating and drinking places added a net 26,000 jobs in April on a seasonally-adjusted basis, which followed an employment decline in March.
After first reporting a modest gain in restaurant jobs in March, BLS revised the employment level downward so that it resulted in a decline of 7,400 jobs for the month. This represented the restaurant industry’s first monthly employment decline since February 2010, when the Great Recession’s job losses were finally running their course. While more revisions are likely, it’s clear that March was a speed bump on an otherwise steady trajectory of job growth in recent years.
Similarly, the overall economy bounced back in April from a sluggish March performance. The economy added a net 223,000 jobs in April, which followed a paltry gain of 85,000 jobs in March. The modest March gain represented the weakest monthly job growth since June 2012, when the economy added a net 35,000 jobs.
Despite the March slowdown, both the restaurant industry and the overall economy remain on pace to post healthy job growth in 2015. Eating and drinking place employment was up 3.9 percent through April, which puts the restaurant industry on track to register its fourth consecutive year with job growth of at least 3.5 percent.
For the overall economy, the 2.3 percent year-to-date growth puts the nation on pace to post its strongest annual employment gain since 1999.