Restaurant industry outpacing U.S. economy in job growth

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 - The restaurant industry did better than the U.S. economy as a whole in 2013 - and will continue to do so in 2014, according to the National Restaurant Association.

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In a post on the association's blog, chief economist Bruce Grindy noted the industry's job growth - to 3.7 percent in 2013 from 3.5 percent in 2012 - “represented the strongest gain” since a 3.9 percent jump in 1995. “Taken together, 2012 and 2013 represented the first time in nearly two decades that the restaurant industry posted back-to-back gains above 3 percent,” he wrote.

Job numbers in the broader U.S. economy, meanwhile, increased by a more modest 1.7 percent in both 2012 and 2013.

Though most segments of the restaurant industry did well in 2013, Grindy said, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars serving coffee, donuts and ice cream set the pace with a 5.8 percent employment increase. Fast-service restaurants, table-service restaurants and food-service contractors also did well in 2013, each posting job growth above 3 percent.

The association expects the upward trend to continue, albeit with less force. Grindy project the industry will create 2.8 percent more jobs in 2014, employing a total of 13.5 million people. U.S. employment is expected to increase 1.8 percent.

“The projected 2014 gain will represent the fourth consecutive year in which the industry registered job growth in excess of 2.5 percent,” Grindy wrote. “Meanwhile, the overall economy hasn't posted job growth above 2.5 percent since 1998.”

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