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Restaurant hiring continued in November

The industry added 18,900 jobs in the month, continuing its hiring steak.

The restaurant industry added another 18,900 jobs in November, according to the latest federal data, continuing a long run of expansion while pushing wages higher.

Restaurants have added nearly 250,000 jobs over the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and now employ just more than 11.8 million people.

The rate of hiring, however, was slower than the national average, suggesting that perhaps restaurants have slowed the rate of growth more recently. The number of new jobs in the month represented 0.14% job growth over October.

By comparison, total private, nonfarm employers added 221,000 jobs during the month, for a rate of growth of 0.18%.

Restaurants had been adding jobs at a rate faster than the broader economy in recent years. The growth has contributed to a widespread labor shortage among restaurant workers that is helping drive up wages—and total labor costs. The unemployment rate is 4.1%, which means the pool of available workers is relatively thin.

Average wages in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, have increased 3.8% over the past 12 months, according to federal data.

By comparison, total wages for nonsupervisory workers have increased 2.3% over the past 12 months.

Rising labor costs, and weak industry traffic, have led many restaurant chains to slow development in recent months amid concerns about overall profitability of newly built locations.

BJ’s Restaurants, Zoes Kitchen and Potbelly, among others, have all opted to reduce the number of newer locations.

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