May 22, 2019

Restaurants projected to add 515k seasonal jobs this summer

Restaurants are expected to add 515,000 jobs this summer season, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 21st annual Eating and Drinking Place Summer Employment Forecast. 

Summer is the busiest season for restaurants in many parts of the country, and the stronger business leads to additional employment opportunities at all levels of a restaurant operation. Roughly one in six eating and drinking place establishments operate on a seasonal basis, and many of these are only open for business during the summer season. These seasonal businesses do all of their hiring for the summer months, and therefore are responsible for the bulk of the summer jobs.

Although the restaurant industry will add more than a half-million jobs for the seventh consecutive summer, hiring will be somewhat curtailed in 2019, with the projected increase of 515,000 seasonal jobs representing the smallest gain since 2016. In 2018, restaurants added 542,000 jobs during the summer season.

The expected dampened hiring during the 2019 summer season will be due in large part to higher labor costs that restaurant operators face in many regions of the country, as well as a labor market than continues to tighten. 

The ten states projected to add the most eating and drinking place jobs during the 2019 summer season are New York (46,300), California (44,900), Massachusetts (31,800), Texas (30,900), New Jersey (29,700), Illinois (26,200), Ohio (22,300), Michigan (20,400), Maryland (18,200) and North Carolina (18,000). 

The states projected to register the largest proportional employment increase during the 2019 summer season are Maine (30.4 percent increase), Alaska (20.3 percent increase), Delaware (17.1 percent increase) and Rhode Island (15.9 percent increase).

Due to the fact that their busiest seasons for travel and tourism are not in the summer months, two states are projected to register declines in eating and drinking place employment during the 2019 summer season: Florida (-10,000) and Arizona (-4,900).

View the entire state summer employment forecast.

Summer employment is defined as the average number of eating and drinking place jobs in June, July and August. The number of summer jobs is the difference between the projected total 2019 summer employment and the March 2019 employment level. Generally, the U.S. restaurant industry begins to ramp up its summer seasonal hiring in April, and it peaks in June, July and August. Eating and drinking places account for approximately three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce.

The restaurant industry is typically the nation’s second largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months – ranking only behind the construction industry.

Read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist.