Foodservice Equipment Reports

Foodservice Jobs Growth: Goosed By Shift To Part-Time Workers?

Foodservice, a subset of the leisure and hospitality employment segment, has been adding workers at a much faster pace this year than last, another possible indication that the industry is finally pulling out of the Great Foodservice Recession once and for all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 75,000 net gain for leisure and hospitality in its June Employment Situation report released July 5. It noted 52,000 of the new jobs were in foodservice, and that the overall segment is averaging 55,000 net new jobs a month so far this year versus a 30,000 average in 2012.

Ron Paul, president of Technomic Inc., noted this trend during his overview of the foodservice market at the Chicago-based research firm’s annual “Trends & Directions” conference June 20 (see article in our June 29 FER Fortnightly), but added an interesting speculation. He wondered whether restaurant operators weren’t “doubling up” by hiring more part-time than full-time employees, in anticipation of the employer mandate requirements of the Affordable Care Act. A new part-time hire is still a hire, counted just like a full-time hire in the BLS data.

The ACA requires that employers with more than 50 “full-time” workers offer healthcare coverage. And the Act defines full-time as 30 hours per week or more.  The National Restaurant Association and other industry groups have lobbied to change the mandates almost from the moment the ACA was passed back in 2009.

The Obama Administration announced last week a one-year delay in the employer mandate provisions, moving implementation from Jan. 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015. Many in the business community are hoping for further delays, changes or even an end to the employer mandates.

It will be interesting to see if the pace of foodservice jobs growth slows now that the ACA mandates have been delayed.

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