Foodservice Equipment Reports

March Jobs Report Signals Return To Modest Gains

The March report on the employment situation in the U.S. from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cheered up nearly everyone. A 192,000 increase in non-farm payroll jobs for March and a 37,000 upward revision of job gains in January and February showed economists and other observers that the American economy had shaken off the brutal winter and returned to modest growth. The unemployment rate held at 6.7%, but only because discouraged workers began to return to the job market.

With the gain in March, the strongest since November, the number of private sector jobs in the U.S. finally exceeded the pre-recession peak reached in January 2008. Following that peak, the U.S. economy shed 8.8 million jobs.

Except for a slight decline in nondurable goods manufacturing employment and another drop in federal government jobs, nearly all sectors of the employment spectrum posted increases in March.  Professional and business services added 57,000 net new jobs; education and health-service employment rose by 34,000; and mining/logging and construction both showed good gains. Eating and drinking places added another 30,400 jobs, according to the National Restaurant Association. During the past 12 months, bars and restaurants have hired 323,000 new employees.

While the restaurant industry has been battered by the brutal winter weather, the employment gains bode well for the remainder of the year. As the NRA’s Senior V.P. of Research Hudson Riehle often says, there is no economic factor that drives restaurant sales more than employment gains.

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