U.S. employers added more jobs in February than many economists were forecasting, and pressures on restaurant hiring are likely to be magnified.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said employers added 295,000 jobs in February, a payroll report that was stronger than the 240,000 jobs that economists were forecasting. The U.S. unemployment rate dipped 20 basis points, to 5.5 percent, the lowest rate since May 2008.
Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association’s chief economist, said in a statement that “eating and drinking places added a net 58,700 jobs in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, their 60th consecutive monthly increase and strongest gain since December 2012.”
Grindy noted that February’s restaurant job growth followed “solid gains” in December with 54,500 jobs and January with 37,400 jobs.
“Eating and drinking places added more than 150,000 jobs during the last three months alone,” Grindy noted. “If these figures hold through revisions, it would represent the restaurant industry’s strongest three-month payroll expansion on record.”
Industry observers earlier in the year at the Global Best Practices Conference, sponsored by Dallas-based analytics firm TDn2K, had warned that hiring would become more challenging and expensive this year.
Grindy noted that the NRA expects eating and drinking places to add jobs at a 3.4 percent rate in 2015, “which will mark the sector’s fourth consecutive year with job growth of at least 3 percent.”
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