Analysis and Commentary

Our chief economist provides his take on the economy, and what it means for restaurants.

Latest commentary

July 2, 2020
Restaurants added 1.5 million jobs for the second consecutive month

The impressive two-month employment bounce only marks the beginning of a long climb back to pre-coronavirus staffing levels.

June 19, 2020
Restaurant employment rose in all 50 states and DC in May

While the May job growth is a positive sign, it only marks the beginning of a painfully long road to recovery for the restaurant industry.

June 16, 2020
Restaurant sales remain well below normal levels, despite May uptick

The total shortfall in restaurant and foodservice sales likely surpassed $120 billion during the first three months of the pandemic.

June 5, 2020
Restaurant employment is starting to rebound from the historic losses

Although restaurants added 1.4 million jobs in May, their staffing levels remain down more than any other industry.

June 2, 2020
Restaurant operators do not anticipate a rapid improvement in business

Sales, employment and capital spending levels are expected to remain dampened through the end of the year.

May 22, 2020
Summer employment in restaurants is another casualty of the coronavirus

Many of the half-million seasonal restaurant jobs will not exist this summer, which will limit opportunities for first-time job seekers.

May 15, 2020
Restaurant sales fell to their lowest real level in over 35 years

Adjusting for inflation, consumer spending at eating and drinking places plunged to its lowest level since October 1984.

May 8, 2020
Three decades of restaurant jobs were lost during the last two months

Restaurants have lost nearly three times more jobs than any other industry since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

April 28, 2020
Consumer pent-up demand for restaurants remains strong

New survey indicates that pent-up demand for restaurants is elevated, even as many consumers maintain their off-premises frequency.

April 20, 2020
Restaurant sales and job losses are widespread across segments

New survey assesses the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry.

April 13, 2020
Consumers are still seeking off-premises options from restaurants

While it doesn’t come close to making up for sales losses, a majority of consumers are maintaining their off-premises usage of restaurants.

April 3, 2020
Restaurant job losses in March were the largest in history – for now

The March employment report was the not-so-calm before the storm.

March 6, 2020
Restaurants provide first jobs and a career path

Nearly half of restaurant job openings in 2019 were filled by either first-time workers or promotions.  

March 6, 2020
Middle-class jobs are growing rapidly in restaurants

The restaurant industry is adding middle-class jobs at a faster pace than the overall economy.

February 12, 2020
Growth in the national economy will remain moderate in 2020

The longest economic expansion on record will continue in 2020, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, according to Association projections.

December 19, 2019
Consumers in Seattle and DC spend the most in restaurants

Seattle and Washington, DC lead the major metropolitan areas in restaurant spending per capita.

November 21, 2019
Households in the West spent the most at restaurants in 2018

Household expenditures at restaurants rose faster than most other spending categories during the last 5 years, led by consumers in the West.

October 24, 2019
Teens in the labor force expected to fall to a 65-year low

Labor force growth will be dominated by older adults during the next decade, which will have implications for the restaurant workforce.

September 20, 2019
Consumers want to increase their restaurant frequency

One-half of baby boomers want to use takeout and delivery more often.

September 20, 2019
Consumers have mixed feelings about the economy

Six in 10 millennials give the economy negative marks.

September 13, 2019
Growth in higher-income households bolsters restaurant sales

The number of households with income above $100,000 jumped 29 percent during the last seven years.

August 8, 2019
Restaurants continue to face staffing challenges

Competition for employees in the restaurant industry remains intense, despite recent decline in job openings.

July 11, 2019
Economic outlook for 2nd half of 2019 remains positive

Consumers are expected to remain in a relatively good financial position, which is positive for restaurants.  

June 19, 2019
Gas prices expected to remain elevated this summer

Rising gas prices haven’t crowded out restaurant spending thus far in 2019. 

June 5, 2019
Restaurant industry added nearly 14k locations in 2018

The restaurant industry added more than 10,000 locations for the third consecutive year. 

May 22, 2019
Restaurants projected to add 515k seasonal jobs this summer

Although restaurants will add more than a half-million jobs for the seventh consecutive summer, hiring will be somewhat curtailed in 2019.

May 22, 2019
Teens come back to the restaurant workforce – for now

Teen restaurant employment is at its highest level since 2007, but long-term projections suggest a downward trend. 

May 22, 2019
Restaurants are tapping into a seasoned labor pool

Older adults were the fastest-growing cohort of restaurant employees in recent years.

May 15, 2019
Consumers are uncertain about personal finances and the economy

Millennials are particularly downbeat about their personal economies.  

May 15, 2019
Consumer pent-up demand for restaurants remains elevated

Four in 10 adults say they are not eating at restaurants as often as they would like.

May 9, 2019
Restaurants are filling all rungs on the career ladder

Nearly half of restaurant job openings in 2018 were filled by either first-time workers or promotions.

May 9, 2019
Restaurant industry is posting strong middle-class job growth

The restaurant industry continues to add middle-class jobs at a much stronger rate than the overall economy.

May 9, 2019
Hospitality industry turnover rate ticked higher in 2018

The turnover rate in the restaurants-and-accommodations sector rose to a post-recession high of 74.9 percent in 2018.