Restaurant industry employment figures are still slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, with food and beverage companies adding 41,000 jobs in June, according to the last Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, the hospitality and entertainment industry has always been one of the slowest industries to recover from the employment slowdown, as the number of jobs is still down 7.8% since February. 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The overall unemployment rate in the United States remained unchanged from last month at 3.6%.
While restaurants are still struggling to maintain their workforces and avoid high turnover rates, the good news is that unemployment rates in the hospitality industry have halved year over year. From June 2021 to June 2022, the unemployment rate in the hotel industry fell from 10.9% to 5.2%.
Overall, while restaurant industry employment figures continue to improve, the recovery is still very slow. Since June 2021, the number of workers employed by the restaurant industry has increased by 8.9% and, since June 2020, by 27%, but has not reached the employment levels of the pre-2020 figures , as workers continue to leave the restaurant industry. In June 2022, there were 11,938,000 workers employed by the restaurant industry.
As the hospitality industry continues to struggle with employment rates, non-franchise operators have become aware of union movements in their stores, such as the major union movement that took over Starbucks.
Restaurants are using several tactics to address the slow return to work, including higher minimum wages and flexible hours.
“There is no silver bullet, one answer for everyone,” Rona Lascano, director of training at A&W Restaurants, told Nation’s Restaurant News in May. “[…] What we can influence is what the workforce is looking for today and how expectations have changed and are truly evolving towards a more team member-centric approach to recruitment and retention.
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