Restaurants and bars continue to out-hire every other business

New federal data show the sector added 33,000 jobs in May, or roughly 1 of every 10 positions created.
restaurant hiring
Restaurants are 52,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. / Photo: Shutterstock

Restaurants and bars once again outpaced all other industry segments in creating jobs last month, adding 33,100 positions while the national unemployment rate inched upward to 3.7, according to newly released government figures.

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday shows the U.S. economy as a whole added 339,000 jobs. Eating and drinking places accounted for roughly 1 of 10 of those new positions.

The industry’s hiring strength lifted total employment within the nation’s leisure and hospitality sector to within 349,000 positions of its Feb. 2020 tally, a gap of just 2.1%.

Leisure and hospitality industries are among the few that have yet to recover from pandemic-related layoffs. Restaurants and bars specifically employ about 12.3 million people, about 52,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. 

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