Foodservice Equipment Reports

Jobs Growth Surges Again In September

U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 248,000 in September, while the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time since before the Great Recession, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Oct. 3. It was a welcome surge after a slowdown in jobs growth in August, although the BLS revised upward growth in July to 243,000 and in August to 180,000, for a net gain of 69,000.

Since the beginning of the year, 1.9 million unemployed Americans have found jobs, and the unemployment rate has fallen 1.3 percentage points. Employment growth is a key driver of foodservice sales growth.

Still, not all of the news is good. Labor-force participation rates remain at historically low levels, the number of those working part-time for economic reasons was little changed in September at 7.1 million and the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force remained at 2.2 million, essentially unchanged from a year ago.

Job gains were broad based across the sectors, led by an 81,000 gain in business and professional service jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 33,000 jobs with 20,000 of those in foodservice. Foodservice has added 290,000 jobs in the past year.

The biggest gains have come from employment in snack and nonalcoholic-beverage bars, according to BLS detail cited by the National Restaurant Association. Employment growth in the segment, which includes coffee, doughnut and ice-cream concepts, has increased 5.6% year-to-date. Quick-service employment growth has risen 3.7% for the first nine months of 2014, foodservice contractors have grown jobs 3.3% and employment in full-service restaurants has risen 2.7%. Full-service restaurants employ more than 5.2 million Americans while more than 4 million work in quick-service restaurants.

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