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Restaurant and bar employment levels ticked down for the first time in 28 months.

Restaurant hires trend down in June

The Bureau of Labor Statistics June report shows that restaurant and bar jobs declined by nearly 1,000 positions, marking the sector’s first drop in nearly two and a half years.

The U.S. labor market slowed a bit in June, with 209,000 total jobs added versus over 306,000 in May. That said, the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.6% and the job market continues to show resiliency amid continued macroeconomic pressures.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June report, released this morning, employment in leisure and hospitality was up by 21,000 positions, marking the third month of relative flatness in the sector. The industry remains below its February 2020 level by 369,000 positions, or 2.2%. Restaurant and bar jobs specifically declined by nearly 1,000 positions, or 0.8%, marking the sector’s first drop in nearly two and a half years. Restaurants and bars remain about 80,000 jobs short of February 2020 numbers.

For added context, foodservices and drinking establishments added 33,000 positions in May and the sector was 2.1% below pre-pandemic employment levels. In April, foodservices and drinking establishments added 25,000 jobs and employment levels were 2.4% below pre-pandemic numbers.

What’s particularly interesting about June’s rare decline is it comes during most restaurants’ busy season. Generally, the restaurant industry begins to ramp up its summer seasonal hiring in April and peaks in June, July and August, according to the National Restaurant Association. The industry is typically the nation’s second largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer, behind only construction.

A look at June’s BLS report, however, finds leisure and hospitality trailing gains in not only construction but also health care and government jobs. In May, the National Restaurant Association projected the industry would add 502,000 seasonal jobs this summer.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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