Restaurant Industry Comes Out as One of the Leaders in National Job Growth

August 11, 2021

Photo courtesy of Small Biz Genius

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released data for last month’s job growth and the restaurant industry has established itself as one of the frontrunners. Nationally, the DOL reported that 943,000 jobs were added in the month of July, which marks the highest rate of growth in 7 months; additionally, the DOL pointed to the fact that this growth rate has brought the unemployment rate down a half a percentage point to 5.4%. On an industry level, restaurants were responsible for more than 1 out of every 5 new jobs. 

In July, the restaurant industry added 253,200 workers, reportedly the largest gain since February. It now provides almost 11.4 million jobs. Although the number of jobs is still less than it was pre-pandemic, it shows that the industry has regained most of the jobs it lost during initial lockdowns – which was somewhere between 5 and 6 million. The DOL also found that the restaurant industry has added almost 1.4 million jobs just this year as customer demand has been skyrocketing. According to Black Box Intelligence, that same demand has led same-store sales to increase for almost 20 straight weeks (through the end of July). 

In terms of growth in other areas, such as revenue and labor recruiting, it seems as though only chain restaurants are seeing positive developments, while small businesses and independent restaurants continue to struggle. For example, numerous big restaurant chains, as well as private chains, have reported sales that are topping 2019 levels. This growth stems from their ability to effectively recruit and retain workers through the ongoing labor shortage. Increased recruitment efforts, higher hourly pay, and unprecedented sign-on and retention benefits are necessary in order to attract workers, but are largely out of reach for smaller businesses continually operating in the red and still burdened with tons of debt. 

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