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- The leisure and hospitality sector continues to drive US job gains, the Labor Department said.
- Restaurants in particular are on a hiring frenzy as they experience a surge in dining.
- Still, the US Travel Association estimates about 2 million open roles in leisure and hospitality.
The last few months have been rough on technology employees with several high-profile companies from Microsoft and PayPal laying off thousands of workers. Facebook parent company Meta is expected to announce a second round of layoffs this week.
Many of the technology companies that increased headcount during the pandemic are now cutting staff due to the uncertain economy and slowing growth.
While inflation and interest rates remain high, highly publicized layoffs in tech and other industries are seemingly being offset by a hiring frenzy in restaurants, bars, and hotels.
Leisure and hospitality is one of the key sectors driving job growth in the US over the past two months, according to the Labor Department, which released its February jobs report on Friday. The sector added 105,000 jobs in February, accounting for over one-third of all jobs added last month.
Restaurants and bars added 70,000 jobs in February after adding 99,000 jobs the month prior. Employment also continues to trend up in the travel accommodations segment and added 14,000 new workers.
The leisure and hospitality sector encompasses restaurants, hotels, arts, entertainment such as theme parks, and other tourism-oriented businesses.
Still a long way to go to meet demand
Restaurants, bars, and hotels can’t hire fast enough to fill jobs needed to serve a surge in demand in travel and dining.
Sales at food services and drinking places in January increased by 7.2% compared to December and 25.2% versus the year prior, according to US Census data. Travel spending also was 4% above pre-pandemic levels in January, according to the US Travel Association.
Both restaurants and hotels are getting closer to gaining back all the jobs lost during the pandemic. But they still have a ways to go.
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants that offer table service were down 311,000 jobs as of the end of 2022 compared to staffing levels in February 2020. The number is comparable to the travel accommodation sector, which is down roughly 327,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to Skift.
Restaurant hiring tech firm Landed said it has seen the number of restaurant job applications on its platform increase by 269% year-over-year. The startup works with more than 400 companies across the US, including brands such as Cava, Chick-fil-A, Little Caesars, and Panera Bread.
“The hiring landscape is still incredibly challenging, and despite a slow recovery to pre-pandemic levels, competition for great talent remains fierce,” said Vivian Wang, CEO of Landed.
The NRA also found that 62% of restaurants admit to being understaffed.
“Eighty-seven percent of operators say they’ll likely hire additional employees during the next 6 to 12 months if qualified applicants are available,” the NRA said.
Overall, the US Travel Association estimates about 2 million open roles remain unfilled in leisure and hospitality. A new American Hotels & Lodging Association study found 87% of hotels are short-staffed, with housekeeping being a top need.
Here’s a look at who is hiring in restaurants and hospitality at large chains. Companies listed have more than 100 roles available in the US:
- In late January, Chipotle said it wants to hire 15,000 workers. The fast-casual chain, which employs 100,000 people, said it needs more workers to staff its more than 3,100 restaurants from March to May, its busy season. The company also plans to double in size in the coming years.
- Starbucks has about 1,500 jobs available in the US, including baristas and shift supervisors, according to its Careers website.
- McDonald’s “McHire” website lists more than 50,000 jobs available in the US, including crew members, assistant managers, maintenance workers, and guest experience leads.
- Olive Garden’s career site lists more than 7,300 job openings, with a particular need for bartenders.
- Shake Shack has 464 restaurant jobs open across the US.
- Marriott International has more than 4,000 full-time job openings currently listed in the US, from housekeepers and cooks to front desk workers.
- Hilton’s career page lists roughly 1,600 jobs available in the US. Jobs span from a senior events manager at a New York City Conrad Hotel location to housekeepers and pastry cooks nationwide.
- InterContinental Hotels Group has 555 jobs available at its hotels, including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza in the US. Roles range from room attendants for suites to bell persons and a Banquet Sous Chef at InterContinental Boston.
- Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has more than 700 full-time jobs listed on the company’s official career page in the US. Open roles include baristas, banquet chefs, and overnight bell and manager roles.
- Hyatt Hotels has 193 open roles on its jobs listing page. These include housekeepers, front desk agents, and sales administrative assistants.
- Paris-based Accor Hotels has more than 650 available jobs at its US properties. Jobs available range from supervisor food and beverage to overnight cleaners and front desk roles.