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Restaurant job levels inched back up in July.

Restaurant employment levels inch back up in July

After losing jobs in June for the first time in nearly two and a half years, the restaurant and bar sector gained over 13,000 positions in July.

After losing jobs in June for the first time in nearly two and a half years, the restaurant and bar sector inched back up on employment in July. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report, released Friday, foodservices and drinking places added 13,400 jobs last month, which is slightly above June and May numbers.

That said, July’s gains were below Q1 averages and well below 2021 and 2022 increases. Between April and July, eating and drinking places added less than 11,000 positions each month, while the average monthly gain during Q1 was 53,000 jobs. According to the National Restaurant Association, 97,500 jobs were added each month during 2021 and 2022.

The restaurant workforce remains below pre-pandemic levels by about 64,000 jobs, or 0.5%.

In a statement, National Restaurant Association Chief Economist Bruce Grindy said, “restaurant operators who are looking to boost staffing levels may find a somewhat less competitive recruiting environment in the months ahead. Job growth in the industry remained in July, but remained well below the gains registered during the early months of the year.”

Overall, the leisure and hospitality sector added just 17,000 positions in July, following average monthly gains of 67,000 in the first quarter. July’s numbers compared to 21,000 positions added in leisure and hospitality in June. The  economy added 187,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate was 3.5% in July, down from 3.6% in June. However, despite the decline, June and July were the two slowest months for job gains in two and a half years, illustrating a cooling labor market.

On the wage side, average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 0.4% in July. Throughout the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4% and wages are now rising at a faster rate than inflation, which perhaps illustrates why consumers have shown remarkable resiliency amid macroeconomic uncertainties.

During the latest round of earnings reports, however, restaurant companies – including Chipotle and Texas Roadhouse – noted the impact wage inflation has had on margins. That said, Michael Bailen, head of investor relations at Texas Roadhouse, said labor inflation is expected to moderate toward the end of this year.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

TAGS: Operations
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