Bars and restaurants employ an oversized share of millennial workers, according to a new report.

By Mike Pomranz
June 07, 2019
Bruno Ehrs/Getty Images

Time and again we’ve seen accusations that millennials are killing the restaurant business with their love of simply ordering in and watching Netflix, or killing the booze industry because they want to be healthier and keep their drunken stupidity off social media. But interestingly enough, if millennials really are destroying the restaurant and alcohol industries that would be really bad news for… millennials?

Turns out jobs in the booze, bar, and restaurant industries are filled in a large part by none other than millennials, according to a new report from Business Insider. The site says it used census data from the Minnesota Population Center's 2017 American Community Survey Integrated Public Use Microdata Series to estimate the share of millennials (defined as adults age 21 to 36 in 2017) employed in each of the 266 industry groups included in the data. These groups were then ranked by which ones had the highest percentage of millennial workers, and the top 30 were revealed.

Some key results: #27: Beverage manufacturing (42 percent). #23: Beer, wine, and liquor stores (43 percent). #16: Alcoholic-beverage wholesalers (45 percent). #8: Restaurants and other food services (49 percent). And #1: Bars — where 59 percent of all workers are millennials. Yes, it turns out a lot of millennials are employed by the exact same industries they are supposedly leading to the downfall of.

Of course, tending bar late into the night and waiting tables to pay for your first apartment are typically the realm of younger adults anyway, and I guess it makes sense that after working day and night at a bar, you might not want to go out to a bar. But here’s a more important tidbit: Business Insider writes that millennials in the bar industry earn an average of just $24,159 per year. And millennial restaurant employees are doing even worse: $20,983. Though the narrative is more fun to say that millennials just like to relax at home or want to be healthier, another issue is that many millennials simply don’t have a lot of spending power. And though going out to a bar after working at a bar might sound annoying, what’s even more annoying is blowing all the money you just earned working at a bar by drinking at a bar.

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