Restaurant industry adds back 40 percent of U.S. jobs gained: June report

National Restaurant Association provides employment update

According to a report from the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry added back another 1.5M jobs in June in its eating and drinking places category on a seasonally-adjusted basis**. This is on top of the 1.5M jobs that were gained in May. A total of 3M jobs regained, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary data, marks a significant step in providing a lift to the industry hardest hit by the pandemic, but it is less than half of restaurant jobs lost.

Overall, however, the 3M jobs represent 40 percent of all jobs gained in the last two months by the U.S. economy. In the Northeast, restaurants lost 60 percent of the jobs. The national picture that ensued by segment wasn’t much rosier. Full-service restaurants were hit the hardest, losing more than 3.5M jobs between February and April, but regaining 1M of those during May per BLS. Among quick-service restaurants, 977K jobs were lost, but 384K came back in May.

The snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars category, which includes coffee, donut and ice cream shops, added back 146.8K jobs in May after dropping 400,000 jobs in the previous two months. Contract foodservice was the only restaurant segment to continue to lose jobs, noted The Association.

*Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the total restaurant and foodservice industry, which prior to the coronavirus outbreak employed 12 million out of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce of 15.6 million,” said Bruce Grindy, the Association’s chief economist.


The downward economic momentum of rising COVID-19 cases will have an impact on employment as states and local governments pause or roll back their reopenings. According to research firm NPD Group, year-over-year transaction growth hit a countercurrent the week ending June 21. Transaction growth versus last year decreased 13 percent that week, compared to a 12-percent decrease the week earlier. The firm attributed the first drop since April 12 to increasing COVID-19 cases and Father’s Day, which is traditionally a non-restaurant occasion.

[Related article: Restaurant transaction growth recovery faces countercurrent]

Texas and Florida, where cases are rising exponentially, closed bars in a reopening rollback. Texas additionally reduced restaurant capacity to 50 percent. Virginia, which has seen a gradual drop in cases up until the last few days of June, held back on reopening its bars as part of Phase 3. Governor Ralph Northam greenlighted Phase 3 to begin July 1.

**For BLS, reporting periods end on the 12th of each month, which can cause variations in reported results from full-month results and the complete impact of rapidly-changing COVID-19 impacts.

Photo credit: Louis Hansel

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