Food service jobs accounted for nearly 25% of all employment growth in June.
If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, you know you have to indulge in your favorite restaurant while you can, because tomorrow, it could announce that it's closing. (Seriously, RIP Salvation Burger, Bouley, and Republic, all three of which recently announced they will shutter in the coming weeks.) This seemingly-constant onslaught of closures is enough to make a foodie think the restaurant industry is imploding, but a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually shows the opposite.
Released Friday, the federal job-growth data report shows the food service industry hired a whopping 313,000 people in the last year, including 53,000 new jobs between June and July alone. The education and healthcare industries added 54,000 new jobs in July—combined. So the restaurant industry is outpacing even them. It's also set to surpass the manufacturing industry if it continues on this current track.
Here's how those new restaurant jobs are breaking down: Full-service restaurants account for about 47 percent of these new jobs, followed by fast-food restaurants at 37 percent, bars at three percent, and everything else—think: cafeterias, snack bars, and caterers—bringing up the rest of the job growth.
This is good news for diners (and restaurant workers, of course) but as Bloomberg points out, it also emphasizes a potential problem: restaurant industry employees are often paid a lot less than those who work in other industries, and as the industry grows, the pay gap among the nation's blue collar workers could further widen.
So while more jobs is certainly a good thing (especially if it means more restaurants to try out), the quality of those jobs (or income they provide) also has to be considered. As minimum wage battles still rage across the country, and they'll continue to be very important to watch as the industry continues to grow, especially at this pace.