Washington Restaurant Market Watch: State’s restaurants gain 11,400 jobs since 2013

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: State’s restaurants gain 11,400 jobs since 2013 https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/restaurantfire273.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Between July 2013 and August 2014, Washington’s foodservices saw an increase of 11,400. This is an increase 5.4 percent.

And this trend is not only being seen among restaurants and related businesses.

“What we are seeing is slow, steady improvement in employment growth in Washington and nationally,” said Steve Lerch, executive director of the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. “Foreclosure rates are going down, and not to say things aren’t hurting for some people, but we are seeing a steady improvement. With regard to foodservice and restaurants, we are seeing steady growth nationally. People are feeling better about the economy. This reflects a stronger confidence on the part of consumers.”

Nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20,400 restaurant jobs were created in September alone. This brings the total of new foodservice industry jobs created, in the U.S., since September, to a whopping total of 289,600.

“September’s job growth is an additional sign that national economic expansion continues,” said Hudson Riehle, the National Restaurant Association’s senior vice president of research. “Strong employment ultimately leads to improved cash-on-hand situation for consumers, and there has always been a strong correlation between disposable income and restaurant spending – more of the former typically means more of the latter. Higher levels of employment also add to consumers’ need for convenience of food away from home, as well as aid overall consumer confidence.”

Lerch and the Washington State Economic and Revenue Council predict continued growth in the state’s economy, which should bode well for restaurants. The council’s September 2014 forecast of Washington employment was higher than assumed in June due mainly to stronger than expected growth through August. Employment growth for the remainder of the forecast was also slightly higher than in the June forecast.

“Our current estimate of Washington personal income growth in the first half of 2014 is also higher than anticipated in the June forecast, resulting in a stronger forecast for 2014,” according to the September forecast. “Our new forecast for nominal personal income growth from 2015 through 2019 is also slightly higher than the rate predicted in June.”

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