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Illinois Restaurant Jobs Steaming Ahead

Posted on June 23, 2009

Anyone with, or looking for, an Illinois restaurant job shouldn’t have too much trouble finding employment this summer.

The National Restaurant Association recently released its employment projections for this summer. Throughout the country, eating and drinking places are projected to add 381,800 jobs during the summer, a 4.1 percent increase from March. The nearly 1 million restaurants throughout the country remain one of the largest overall employers, with a total of 13 million workers. And that number is expected to increase by 2 million during the next 10 years.

The State of Illinois came in sixth as far as the states expected to add the most restaurant jobs this summer. New York came in first with an expected 32,900 jobs, followed by California with 30,900 jobs, Texas with 26,400 jobs, Massachusetts with 23,600 jobs, New Jersey with 19,600 jobs, Illinois with 19,300 jobs and Ohio with 19,000 jobs. Maine and Alaska are expected to see the largest proportional increases this summer, at 29.2 percent and 25.1 percent, respectively.

Only two states are expected to see declines in restaurant employment this summer. Florida is expected to lose 18,200 jobs, while Arizona is expected to lose 7,200 jobs. Experts say that’s only because these states don’t consider summer as their prime tourism season.

Expected employment growth in the restaurant industry is the same as during 2008, at 4.1 percent, but slightly less than in 2007 when it was at 4.8 percent. The restaurant industry is usually the country’ second-largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer, second only to the construction industry. That industry usually adds more than 600,000 jobs during the summer, although the current economic downturn could make that number much smaller.

“Restaurant operator optimism has increased steadily this year and combined with these advances in restaurant summer employment, the end of the current downturn for the restaurant industry is likely in sight,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the NRA, told QSR Magazine. “While overall U.S. employment growth remains negative, the industry is bucking that trend as it added jobs in May for the first time in 10 months. Building on that gain, the growth in summer employment is a clear sign that the restaurant industry remains a powerhouse in the U.S. economy.”

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