- Restaurants and bars lost over 17,000 jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report released Friday.
- These numbers mark the first net loss of jobs since April, and unemployment in leisure and hospitality is 134% higher than the national average, according to a press release from the Independent Restaurant Coalition sent to Restaurant Dive.
- While the industry made job gains during the summer, jobs are still 2.1 million fewer than the start of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association. With winter around the corner and more COVID-19-related restrictions on the horizon, Gusto predicts the colder season will erase 2 million in job gains from September and August.
These job numbers don't bode well for the next few months, when there is likely to be an exponential rise in coronavirus cases and states and municipalities tightening dining room restrictions. California has already issued regional stay-at-home orders that will be triggered once ICU capacity dips below 15% in that specific area. Under these orders, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery.
New orders will impact full-service restaurants the most, which saw a 3.6 million loss in jobs from February to April, recovering only 2.4 million jobs from April to July. One-half of restaurant operators also expect staffing levels to decline in the next three months, according to a National Restaurant Association survey completed in November. Fifty-eight percent of full-service operators compared to 40% of limited-service restaurants said they expect a staffing reduction during the next three months. Only 5% of operators expect to increase staffing levels during that time.
While Paycheck Protection Program loans helped several restaurants rehire employees, the funding is all about tapped out and Congress has yet to pass a fresh stimulus package. The current iteration also doesn’t have stimulus checks, which many households then used to spend at restaurants, and would offer a $300 boost to unemployment insurance compared to the previous $600 addition. Some local governments have started offering funding for unemployed restaurant workers. Los Angeles is offering a one-time payment of $800 for 4,000 eligible workers to provide support following outdoor dining closures within Los Angeles County.