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National Restaurant Association - Economist's Notebook: Private sector jobs surpassed pre-recession peak

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Economist's Notebook: Private sector jobs surpassed pre-recession peak

The National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest employment data. The private sector added 192,000 jobs in March, which lifted it back above its pre-recession employment peak.  Meanwhile, the restaurant industry posted its strongest monthly job growth since October, with total employment standing more than 9 percent above the sector’s pre-recession peak.

More than six years after the start of the Great Recession, the number of private sector jobs finally surpassed its pre-recession peak in March, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The private sector added a net 192,000 jobs in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the strongest monthly gain since November. 

Meanwhile, restaurants added more than 30,000 jobs in March, the 49th consecutive monthly gain and strongest increase since October. 

Overall, private sector employment now stands 110,000 jobs above its January 2008 pre-recession peak, after which the private economy lost nearly 8.8 million jobs.  In comparison, the restaurant industry surpassed its pre-recession employment peak in September 2011, and now stands nearly 900,000 jobs – or 9.2 percent – above the previous high.

Looking forward, the outlook for continued restaurant job growth remains positive.  Although a sizable portion of the overall restaurant job creation comes from growth in the number of locations, existing restaurants also contribute to cyclical employment gains and losses. 

In the National Restaurant Association’s March 2014 Tracking Survey, 22 percent of restaurant operators said they expect to employ more people in six months than they did during the same period in 2013.  This represented the highest proportion of operators expecting job growth in seven months. 

In comparison, only 13 percent of restaurant operators plan to cut positions in six months (compared to the same period in 2013), while the remaining 65 percent expect their staffing levels to remain about the same.  This suggests that restaurant industry job growth will continue to be broad-based in the months ahead.

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

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