Restaurant employment declined in October
In a sudden reversal from the recent positive trend, restaurant employment declined in October. October’s decline, along with downward revisions for both August and September, tell a much different story than the preliminary data indicated.
Eating and drinking places* lost a net 7,500 jobs in October on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). October’s decline came on the heels of downward-revised readings in both August and September.
After revisions, restaurants added a net 48,300 jobs in September (down from a preliminary reading of +60,700). August saw payrolls decline by 9,300 jobs, which was well below the preliminary reporting of +14,400.
As a result of the downward revisions in August and September, restaurant employment has yet to fully recover from the pandemic-induced losses. As of October 2023, eating and drinking places were 14,000 jobs – or 0.1% – below their February 2020 level.
*Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the total restaurant and foodservice industry, which prior to the COVID-19 pandemic employed more than 12 million out of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce of 15.6 million.
Read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.