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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant middle class job growth 4x stronger than overall economy

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Restaurant middle class job growth 4x stronger than overall economy

The restaurant industry has been a driving force behind the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession, adding roughly 2 million jobs during the current expansion.  Not only are restaurants among the leaders in total job growth, they are also adding middle class jobs at a much stronger rate than the overall economy, 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 has been a driving force behind the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession.  From the beginning of the employment recovery in March 2010 through the end of 2015, restaurants added roughly 2 million jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This equates to an average of more than 900 net new restaurant jobs added each day. 

Overall, the 21 percent increase in restaurant jobs during the recovery is more than double the 10 percent gain in total U.S. jobs during the same period.  Not only are restaurants among the leaders in total job growth, they are also adding middle class jobs at a much stronger rate than the overall economy. 

In fact, the restaurant industry added middle class jobs* at a rate four times stronger than the overall economy during the recovery from the Great Recession, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.   

Between 2010 and 2014,the number of restaurant jobs with annual income between $45,000 and $74,999 jumped 32.7 percent.  In contrast, the total number of jobs in the U.S. economy with income in this range rose just 8.0 percent during the same period.

Due to the scheduling flexibility demanded by much of the industry workforce, most restaurant employees work on a part-time or part-year basis.  Only 43 percent of restaurant workers are full-time/full-year employees, compared to 69 percent of the total U.S. workforce. 

As a result, the restaurant industry is home to only 1.8 percent of all jobs in the economy with annual income between $45,000 and $74,999.

However, the restaurant industry was responsible for 5.9 percent of the net new middle class jobs added to the economy between 2010 and 2014, or more than three times larger than its current share of these jobs.

*For the purposes of this analysis, middle class jobs are defined as those with annual income between $45,000 and $74,999.

 

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