December 19, 2008

Restaurant job growth expected

The U.S. National Restaurant Association Friday said job growth in the industry would exceed the country's population growth rate through 2019.

The association said food service positions would total 13 million in 2009, representing more than 9 percent of the nation's jobs. But, the association expects the industry to add 1.8 million jobs in the next decade, reaching 14.8 million by 2019.

The restaurant industry is both innovative and resilient, said Dawn Sweeney, the association's president and chief executive officer.

The industry is not immune to the economic conditions, however. In 2009, sales are expected to increase 2.5 percent, but an adjustment for inflation will turn that into a sales decline of 1 percent next year, the association said.

Full-service restaurant sales are forecast to grow 1 percent to $182.9 billion in 2009, but this will be outpaced considerably by 4 percent growth to $163.8 billion in fast-food restaurants. Eating-and-drinking restaurants -- bars and lounges -- will see sales growth of 2.2 percent to $395 billion, the association said.

Among states, Texas is projected to experience the fastest sales growth -- 4 percent -- followed by Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, the association said.