Now Hiring: Restaurant Industry Adds Half Million Jobs

Restaurant Industry While the recovery is stalling in some industries, the restaurant industry is really cooking. Restaurants are expected to add 425,000 jobs this summer season, a 4.6 percent increase over the March 2011 employment level, according to the most recent National Restaurant Associationprojections.

This year shows the strongest summer employment projections since 2007, suggesting that the restaurant industry is heading into better economic times. America's restaurants are the nation's second-largest private-sector employer and job creator, with nearly 13 million employees, or almost 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. Let's face it -- everybody eats. No wonder the industry is doing so well.

And more than nine in 10 restaurants (93 percent) are small businesses with less than 50 employees, supporting the belief that it's the smaller businesses that are making the real differences when it comes to job creation.

"The restaurant industry has outperformed the overall economy when it comes to job creation for the past year, proving its role as a key driver to economic recovery and growth in America," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the association.

Who knew that the restaurant industry is usually the nation's second-largest creator of summer jobs -- second only to the construction industry? Eating and drinking establishments added 401,600 jobs (a 4.4 percent increase) during the 2010 summer season, 391,300 jobs (a 4.2 percent increase) during the 2009 summer season, and 352,900 jobs (a 3.7 percent increase) during the 2008 summer season.

The states projected to add the most eating- and drinking-place jobs during the 2011 summer season are New York (39,700), California (35,100), Massachusetts (27,100), New Jersey (23,200), Illinois (21,000), Michigan (20,200), Ohio (19,700) and Texas (18,600).

The states projected to register the largest proportional employment increase during the 2011 summer season are Maine (31.1 percent increase), Alaska (23.0 percent increase) and Delaware (20.6 percent increase).

Overall, every additional million dollars in restaurant sales generates 34 more jobs for the economy, which might make you feel better about eating out more often.

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