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US Restaurant Industry Has Jobs on the Menu

The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private employer . / Credit: Menu image via Shutterstock

The dip in the nation's unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, the lowest since President Obama took office in 2009, isn't the only good news coming out of Washington Friday (Oct. 5). The nation's restaurant industry continues to post solid job growth at more than double the rate of the overall economy, according to a new analysis released in the nation's capital. Since the recovery began in March 2010, the restaurant industry has added 645,000 jobs.

Eating and drinking establishments added nearly 71,000 jobs in the third quarter, bringing the total number of industry positions created this year to more than 185,000, according to an analysis by the National Restaurant Association, a trade group. Nearly 16,000 of those new jobs were created in September.

In the 12 months ending September 2012, employment in the restaurant industry segment jumped 2.9 percent, more than double the 1.4 percent increase in total U.S. employment during the period, the association said.

Restaurants have been the third-largest private sector job creator since the employment recovery began, with current industry staffing levels standing at 263,000 jobs above the pre-recession peak. The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private employer with a work force of nearly 13 million—almost 10 percent of the U.S. work force.

The association projects that the restaurant industry nationwide will add 1.4 million positions in the next decade, reaching 14.3 million. The fastest growing positions include supervisors and food-and-beverage-serving workers. The restaurant work force skews younger; 16- to 24-year-olds hold nearly 4 in 10 food service positions, and more than half of restaurant workers are under age 30.

"Employment growth is at the center of the economic recovery, and our industry is one of the leaders," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "Restaurants continue to outperform the economy in job creation, but the uneven performance of the overall economy is concerning. There is no substitute for solid U.S. job growth, as employed consumers drive restaurant industry sales by increased spending and need for convenience of away-from-home meals."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.