Industry News | May 29, 2008

NRA Releases Employment Outlook for Summer

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The National Restaurant Association released its employment projections for the summer of 2008. Nationally, eating and drinking places are projected to add 402,900 jobs during the 2008 summer season, representing a 4.2 percent increase over their March 2008 employment level. America's 945,000 restaurants remains one of the largest employers in the nation with its 13.1 million employees—a number projected to grow by two million positions in the next decade.

"The nation's restaurants are still posting solid job growth rates despite current economic challenges," says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and information services for the Association. "While growth is slightly slower than in past years, the industry is still a strong creator of career and employment opportunities and a driver of the nation's economy. As the summer months are typically the peak season for travel and tourism, restaurants tend to increase staffing to accommodate additional customer traffic."

Eating and drinking places added 499,900 jobs (a 5.3 percent increase) during the 2007 summer season and 415,300 jobs (a 4.5 percent increase) during the 2006 summer season. The restaurant industry is the nation’s second largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months, ranking only behind the construction industry, which generally adds approximately 700,000 jobs during the summer season.

The states projected to add the most eating and drinking place jobs during the 2008 summer season are California (35,200), New York (34,700), Texas (25,500), Massachusetts (22,700), Illinois (22,000), and New Jersey (20,100).

The states projected to register the largest proportional employment increase during the 2008 summer season are Maine (a 30.2 percent increase) and Alaska (a 24.0 percent increase). Due to the fact that their busiest seasons for travel and tourism are not in the summer months, two states are projected to register declines in eating and drinking place employment during the 2008 summer season: Florida (-18,300) and Arizona (-3,900).

Summer employment is defined as the average number of jobs in June, July, and August. The number of summer jobs is the difference between the projected total 2008 summer employment and the March 2008 employment level. Generally, the U.S. restaurant industry begins to ramp up its summer seasonal hiring in April, and it peaks in June, July, and August.