Restaurants added 1.5 million jobs for the second consecutive month

The restaurant industry expanded payrolls for the second consecutive month in June, as local economies across the country continued the gradual process of reopening. Eating and drinking places* added a net 1.5 million jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The healthy June increase followed a nearly identical gain in May, and represented a significant chunk of the 7.5 million net jobs added to the overall economy during the last two months. However, the nearly 3 million jobs added to payrolls didn’t even represent half of the total restaurant jobs lost at the depth of the coronavirus lockdowns.

To be sure, while a two-month employment bounce of 3 million jobs is impressive, it only marks the beginning of a long road to recovery for the restaurant industry. Indeed, restaurants were hit harder than any other industry during the pandemic, and still have the longest climb back to pre-coronavirus employment levels.

[It’s important to note that the BLS monthly employment reports count jobs during the payroll period that includes the 12th of each month. Changes in restaurant staffing levels – both negative and positive – have occurred rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic, as restaurants quickly adjust their operating status in response to evolving regulatory and economic conditions. As a result, significant changes likely occurred during the weeks between each measurement period, and the monthly data may not fully capture the total job losses experienced during the coronavirus lockdowns. Still, the figures are a useful indication of the extent to which restaurant employment is recovering].

*Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the total restaurant and foodservice industry, which prior the coronavirus outbreak employed 12 million out of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce of 15.6 million.

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