So much for the slowdown in restaurant industry hiring.
Restaurants added 47,500 jobs in October, according to federal data released Friday. The numbers confirm what numerous operators say is the worst labor crunch they’ve seen, which has increased their labor costs and made it more difficult to find workers.
The industry employed 12.3 million people in October and has added 227,000 employees so far in 2019.
What’s more, the U.S. Labor Department revised upward its job numbers from both August and September, meaning the industry has hired more people over the past three months than the initial numbers indicated. Over the past three months, restaurants have added 115,000 employees.
The strong run of restaurant hiring is accounting for much of the economy’s overall growth in jobs.
The overall economy added 128,000 employees in October while the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%. That means restaurants accounted for 37% of all jobs created last month.
The strong jobs creation is a sign of a healthy industry. It means operators have enough business to keep adding workers while investors continue to put money into new locations.
At the same time, however, it comes amid concern that the industry has too many restaurants—industry traffic, particularly at casual-dining restaurants, has been weak for much of the past four years.
And the hiring has worsened a labor shortage that has led many operators to cut hours of operations because they can’t find employees.
“Some markets are tough,” Guillermo Perales, a multiconcept operator of chains such as Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Arby’s with more than 1,000 restaurants across the South. “Some areas are a lot harder than others.”