National Restaurant Association Reports Continued Restaurant Job Growth

The restaurant industry outpaces the overall U.S. job growth rate by two to one, according to a new study by the NRA.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) shows that the restaurant industry continues to serve as a leading creator of jobs, outpacing overall U.S. employment growth.

In the 12 months ending June 2012, eating and drinking place employment jumped 2.7 percent, more than double the 1.3 percent increase in total U.S. employment during the same period, according to a study conducted by the National Restaurant Association. Restaurants added a net 116,000 positions in the first half of 2012.

Overall, restaurants added more than 575,000 jobs since the employment recovery began in March 2010, with current industry staffing levels standing at 193,000 jobs more than the pre-recession peak, according to the NRA.

The NRA projects that restaurant industry sales will exceed $632 billion this year, a 3.5 percent increase compared to 2011 sales. "Restaurant industry sales are gaining for the third consecutive year, spurring the nation's nearly one million restaurants to staff up to meet the increasing demand for away-from-home meals," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "This illustrates the strength and resilience of our industry, as well as the wealth of opportunity it offers."

And the outlook for the remainder of the year seems positive. According to the NRA's latest Restaurant Performance Index, restaurant operators continue to plan for staffing increases in the second half of 2012. Twenty percent of restaurant operators plan to increase staffing levels in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year) while only 8 percent said they expect to reduce staffing levels in six months. Seventy-two percent of operators said they expect their staffing levels to remain unchanged through the end of the year.

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