2014 will mark the 15th consecutive year that the restaurant industry job growth outdid the overall economy by adding jobs at an incredible 3.5 percent rate. The National Restaurant Association’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy states that “The restaurant industry continues to be a driving force behind the nation’s recovery,” as steady job growth convinces consumers to break away from the recession mindset. Grindy predicts that 2015 is to be a year with continued economic gains in addition to the 300,000 jobs that are to be added to the restaurant industry.
Grindy’s analysis of the trends concluded that “Eating and drinking places, the primary component of the restaurant industry accounting for three-fourths of the total restaurant and food-service workforce, added jobs at a solid 3.5 percent rate in 2014, well above the 1.9 percent gain in total U.S. employment.” The restaurant industry alone nearly doubled the total job gain in the United States, showing the true value of restaurants in the nation’s economy. When looking at the last 15 years, the eating and drinking place sector of the industry saw employment levels increase to more than 34 percent. In contrast, the total number of jobs in the economy for the United States were only raised by 8 percent.
For 2015, the National Restaurant Association expects that jobs will be added at a 3.4 percent rate. This will mean that the employment gains will fall at 3 percent or greater for the first time since the mid 1980’s. That national labor market is also expected to grow to 2.3 percent. According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, eating and drinking place sales totaled $50.5 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis for the month of January. Grindy believes this could be due to the drop of gas prices and improved U.S. labor market, as consumers are now in a better cash-on-hand position.
So what does this mean for restaurants? Consumers are now finding dollars in their wallets that weren’t there before. The free money they have to spend due to the employment growth can go towards extra expenses such as eating out. Spending at restaurants and bars increased by 8 percent in December of 2014 as compared to the year beforehand. Consumers are beginning to shake their frugal habits that were installed by the recession. They no longer need to hold back on spending due to concerns about the economy. The increased job rate can also ensure that restaurants will have all the help they need to provide service to the increased number of guests that are walking through the door.