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Employment in Restaurants and Bars Reaches Pre-pandemic Levels in September

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has brought positive news for the leisure and hospitality sector in the United States. In September, the U.S. economy added 336,000 jobs, with the leisure and hospitality industry accounting for about 28% of those jobs. This sector added 96,000 positions, the highest among all industries.

The report also revealed that employment in food services and drinking places has finally returned to its pre-pandemic level. However, accommodation employment is still below February 2020 levels by about 10.3%. Despite this, the surge in hospitality and leisure employment in September came as a surprise to economists, as the sector typically sees more job losses than gains during this time.

There are a few factors that could have contributed to this increase. It is possible that the seasonal adjustment following the pandemic fails to reflect the realities of the post-pandemic labor market. Additionally, some employers may be holding on to workers for longer due to the challenges of recruitment. Higher interest rates and the return of student loan payments may also be driving households to seek additional income.

It is important to note that the increase in hiring during September is not necessarily indicative of a new hiring momentum for the hospitality and leisure sector. Holiday hiring momentum is expected to be concentrated in the retail sector, with companies like Target,, and Macy’s announcing their holiday hiring plans. Retail added 19,700 jobs in September, and robust hiring forecasts for seasonal workers are expected.

The strength of the September jobs report initially raised concerns about the Federal Reserve tightening interest rates further. However, these concerns were largely alleviated as the report contained elements that were seen as the “best of both worlds.” The job growth suggests a robust economy, while wage growth moderation indicates that higher earnings won’t push inflation further up.

Overall, this report is good news for workers, as employees, especially those in front-line roles, remain in the driver’s seat and can be selective about the businesses they choose to work for.

In conclusion, the September jobs report shows a significant increase in employment in the leisure and hospitality sector, bringing it back to pre-pandemic levels. While the sector’s hiring momentum may not be sustained, the retail sector is expected to see robust hiring for the upcoming holiday season. This report indicates a positive outlook for the U.S. economy and provides opportunities for job seekers in various industries.

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