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US restaurant employment falls to lowest level since 1989

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In two months, the industry lost more jobs than any other industry

The US restaurant industry lost more than three decades of jobs in the last two months, according to National Restaurant Association analysis of preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently. Eating and drinking places – which are the primary component of the total restaurant and foodservice industry – lost 5.5 million jobs in April, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, which follows a net decline of nearly a half-million jobs in March. This is nearly three times more jobs than any other industry.

“In February, there were more than 12 million people on the payrolls of eating and drinking places across this country, but today more than six million restaurant workers are home without a job – and that number is going to grow. It is critical that Congress provide targeted relief for the restaurant industry and its employees.” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the Association.

On April 20, the Association sent to Congress a “Blueprint for Recovery” that outlines how Congress can improve the outlook for the industry’s survival by creating a Restaurant and Foodservice Recovery Fund, making necessary fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program that will help make the funds usable for the industry’s unique business plans, and tax credits that will help support the industry as it reopens.

“Following a natural disaster, restaurants are the last businesses to reopen and to start recovery. When it’s one town or one state, we rally to help those restaurants. This is a nationwide disaster that’s going to need a nationwide plan for restaurants to recover,” said Kennedy.

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