Restaurant job growth continues to outpace overall U.S. employment growth, according to recent analysis by the National Restaurant Association.
In the 12 months ending June 2012, restaurant employment jumped 2.7 percent, more than double the 1.3 percent increase in total U.S. employment during the same period. The restaurant industry is the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, with a workforce of nearly 13 million–which makes up nearly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Restaurants added a net 116,000 positions in the first half of 2012. Overall, restaurants have added more than 575,000 jobs since the employment recovery began in March 2010, with current industry staffing levels 193,000 jobs above the pre-recession peak. Restaurant industry job growth slowed along with the rest of the economy during the second quarter of 2012, but remains a net contributor to the economic recovery.
“While restaurant industry job growth is not immune to the ups and downs of the overall economy, our industry has continually been at the forefront of job creation for the last two years,” Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the NRA, said in a statement. “Restaurant industry sales are gaining for the third consecutive year, spurring the nation’s nearly 1 million restaurants to staff up to meet the increasing demand for away-from-home meals.”
The NRA projects that restaurant industry sales will exceed $632 billion this year, a 3.5 percent increase over 2011 sales. One out of three (33 percent) Americans say they are not dining out as often as they would like, down from 40 percent one year ago.
According to the NRA’s June 2012 Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, restaurant operators continue to plan for staffing increases in the second half of 2012. Twenty percent of restaurant operators plan to increase staffing levels in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), while only 8 percent said they expect to reduce staffing levels in six months. Seventy-two percent of operators said they expect their staffing levels to remain unchanged through the end of the year.