New Labor Statistics Show Slow Growth in Restaurant Industry

With only 18,000 jobs added nationally in the month of June and an unemployment rate as high as 9.2%, things do not look good, but what does this mean for the restaurant industry?

It's not all bad. According to the newest statistics, employment in the leisure and hospitality industry trended up with 34,000 jobs added and has grown by 279,000 since a low in January 2010.

In addition to these new economic statistics that came out last Friday, Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association’s Chief Economist took a closer look at recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the hospitality industry in 2010. Here’s what he found:

• Although other areas are suffering, the restaurant industry dded 7,687 locations in 2010, which is a vast improvement from 2009 when 2,568 locations were added.
• In terms of percentages that’s a 1.4% rate in 2010, up from a 0.5% gain in 2009.
• The restaurant industry’s gains have outperformed the private sector for the last five years, which lost a net of 4,000 establishments in 2010 following an 80,000 establishment decline in 2009.
• The full-service segment of the restaurant industry had a net gain of 3,968 locations in 2010; in 2009, only 753 locations were added.
• Bars and taverns, however, is the only major category to show a decline. The number of drinking establishments fell by 282 in 2010 after declining by 628 locations in 2009.

Again, the newest numbers regarding the economy are disheartening and even discouraging, with the fewest jobs added in nine months. Factors such as high gas prices may be a cause for the downturn, but job creation should remain a priority. With that being said, there is seemingly a light at the end of the tunnel for the restaurant industry. After all, growth, albeit slow growth, is better than none at all.