Many Housing-Battered States To See Restaurant Sales Improve, NRA Forecasts

Several states whose economies and restaurant sales were most affected by the housing crash during the Great Recession are forecast to post some of the strongest growth in restaurant sales this year, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The group’s state-by-state and regional forecasts, part of its 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast released in January, predicts states including Arizona (4.9%), Florida (4.5%) and California (3.9%) will grow faster than the national average. NRA forecasts total foodservice growth of 3.6% in current dollars in 2014. Rounding out the states that have forecast growth rates above 4% are North Dakota (4.8%), Texas (4.7%) and Colorado (4.1%). Even Nevada, which still had an unemployment rate of 9% as of November 2013, is forecast to grow 3.7%, making it the ninth fastest growing state in restaurant sales. The eight Mountain States, which include Arizona, are pegged to grow at 4.1%, the fastest growing region.

Employment, disposable income and population growth are the key drivers NRA analyzes in making its state and regional forecasts. The five fastest growing states also are expected to lead in jobs growth and have population gains above the national average.

On the other hand, states with flat populations and sluggish jobs growth are forecast to grow more slowly. All six New England states are projected to grow restaurant sales less than 3%, with sales growth of the region as a whole pegged at 2.7%. Rhode Island, which also had an unemployment rate of 9% in November, and Vermont, which is forecast to show no population growth this year, have the slowest forecast growth rates of any of the states at 2.3%.

NRA’s complete state and regional forecasts are available as part of the annual forecast. It can be purchased, with a discount for NRA members, at   “””

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