Good News For Job Seekers in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry

Good News For Job Seekers in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry
Once a month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its “Employment Situation
Summary” which covers a variety of employment statistics from the previous month.
One of the more familiar statistics they publish is the unemployment rate, but there’s
much more depth to these reports than this one piece of data. For example, the BLS
breaks down job gains and job losses by industry, which is helpful not only to economists
but to job seekers as well. One of these industry groups is “Leisure and Hospitality”,
which can be further classified into a sub-sector known as “Accommodation and Food
Services”. Just as the name implies, the Accommodation and Food Services payroll data
is derived from businesses that provide “customers with lodging and/or preparing meals,
snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption.” The BLS even goes one step further,
stratifying the job gains or losses into specific categories like hotel desk clerks, hotel
managers, housekeeping, waiters, food preparers, bartenders etc. In the most recent
Employment Situation Summary, which covered the month of November, 228.000 people
were added to payrolls across the U.S. Of that total, 21,200 payrolls were in the
Accommodation and Food Services sector which accounted for 9% of total payroll gains.
The gains in October were even stronger at 36%. Eliminating a large payroll decline in
September, attributed to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this group has been near the head of
the industry pack in 2017, adding on average about 31,000 new jobs each month. Even
going as far back as the last recession, which ended in June 2009, job growth in the
Accommodation and Food Services group has increased 23%. To put that another way,
almost 1/4 of all job growth in the U.S. since 2009 has been in the restaurant and hotel
industry. The upward trajectory of job growth in this sector is best illustrated in the BLS
chart below.
Historically, the hotel and restaurant industries have been the proverbial canary in the
coal mine when it comes to forecasting recessions. That’s because dining out and
traveling are the first businesses to take a hit when consumers begin tightening the purse
strings. The trickle down effect eventually results in lay-offs for both restaurants and
lodging. However, given the consecutive monthly job gains in the Accommodation and
Food Services sector for 2017, we can conclude that prospects for hiring in this industry
look promising.
December 8, 2017
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