New Labor Report Shows Unexpected Results For The Restaurant Industry

Those who frequently eat at restaurants or order takeout (or watch the news) are likely aware of the severe labor shortage that has affected the U.S. From adding benefits for employees to attract more staff to "tipping" customers who pick up their orders to ease the strain on the workers they do have, many chains and restaurants have gotten creative in an effort to stay afloat and retain staff during the pandemic. But a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on February 4 showed that the labor crisis is not in quite the dire state some might expect.

According to the report, 467,000 jobs were added during the month of January in the United States, and more than 100,000 of those jobs were in restaurants and bars alone, reports CNN. The outlet explains economists had estimated around 150,000 jobs total would be added, so the findings were significantly better than most had hoped for. Given that the number of employed is just 2.9 million jobs short compared to February 2020, and the country lost 22 million jobs in the months of March and April 2020, the increase is quite notable. But that doesn't mean the pandemic-era economy or labor crisis is over just yet.

The industry is not in the clear yet

Even though the United States is not too far off from normal employment levels for this time of year, that does not mean that the labor crisis is over. Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, explained to CNN that normally there are a considerable amount of jobs lost after the holiday season, but, "pre-Covid seasonal patterns no longer seem to hold." So even though the country is roughly three million jobs behind pre-pandemic labor reports, some of the 2.5 million seasonal employees that would normally have seen their positions terminated after the winter holidays have been asked to stay on. Not to mention, the U.S. still had nearly 11 million job openings to fill in December 2021.

While the 100,000 new jobs is promising, the restaurant industry is still experiencing a labor shortage caused by the pandemic, so don't expect everything to return to normal overnight.