People Report 2nd-Q Index shows hope of turnaround

DALLAS —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

The more than 80 restaurant companies that participated in the most recent survey said they are expecting to hire more employees or maintain their current staffing levels in the second quarter of 2009, signifying expected job growth in the industry and signs that an economic recovery may be on its way, People Report officials said. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

INDUSTRY EXPECTS JOB GROWTH

 
  Q3 08 Q4 08 Q1 09 Q2 09
People Report Workforce Index 62.9 51.3 43.0 43.8
Employment Levels 67.6 52.3 46.5 45.1
Recruiting Difficulty 64.2 57.3 42.6 38.2
Vacancies 59.3 48.6 38.0 29.6
Employment Expectations 61.7 53.7 43.8 55.4
Turnover 44.2 38.2 29.7 34.1

“Couple that with some other things, such as the decline in job losses, and it looks like the worst is behind us,” said People Report analyst Michael Harms. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

The index revealed that after posting job losses of 27,000 in November and 25,000 in December, the foodservice industry shed only 9,000 jobs in March. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

Employment expectations among operators who participated in the survey rose to 55.4 for the current second quarter. With the exception of fine dining, all industry segments experienced an increase in employment expectations, with 26 percent of companies saying they expected to add hourly positions and 61 percent saying they would maintain current staffing levels. At the management level, 20 percent said they expected to add staff, and 64 percent said they anticipated no change. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

Companies that participated in the quarterly survey represent quick-service, fast-casual and family-dining, casual-dining, and fine-dining and high-volume restaurants. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

The fine-dining and high-volume segment is “still underwater,” said Joni Thomas Doolin, People Report’s founder and chief executive. The segment’s employment expectation level dipped below 50 for the first time, indicating job loss. Thirty-two percent of companies reported cutting hourly payrolls in the first quarter, and 52 percent cut management jobs. Meanwhile, 32 percent added hourly positions and 19 percent added management jobs. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

All segments reported falling turnover rates as national unemployment has risen. Unemployment was 8.5 percent in March, nearly double the 4.4 percent for March 2008. For workers ages 16 to 24, the rate is currently 16.3 percent, the highest in 25 years. As a result, operators have not been as concerned with filling vacancies, the index found. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

Low turnover has been a bit of a silver lining, Doolin said. —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.

“The recession brings the opportunity to hire talent and…get A-level team players,” she said. “But that window of opportunity won’t stay open forever. We will probably see that start to change in the next few quarters.” —The employment picture is brightening for the restaurant industry, according to the most recent People Report Workforce Index.