Restaurants Projected to Add 525,000 Seasonal Jobs This Summer
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Restaurants Projected to Add 525,000 Seasonal Jobs This Summer

Restaurants Projected to Add 525,000 Seasonal Jobs This Summer

Summer is a busy time for restaurants, with warmer weather leading to additional customers, particularly in travel and tourist destinations across the country. In order to meet this demand, many restaurants hire high school and college-aged students for summer positions. This year is no different, as restaurants are expected to add 525,000 seasonal jobs this summer, according to a recent report by the National Restaurant Association.

That projection is a slight decrease from last summer, when restaurants added 552,000 seasonal jobs. The summer of 2023 ranked behind only 2015, when 550,000 summer jobs were the highest on record. However, the number of seasonal jobs in 2023 and 2024 would be the only time on record in which at least 525,000 jobs were added in consecutive years.

Northeastern states will add the most jobs

States in the northeast typically see the highest restaurant job growth during the summer months due to increased travel and tourism to those areas.

The states projected to register the largest proportional employment increase during the 2024 summer season are Maine (32%), Alaska (21%), Delaware (17%), Rhode Island (17%), New Hampshire (13%), New Jersey (12%) and Massachusetts (12%).

Only two states, Florida and Arizona, are expected to experience declines in restaurant employment this summer. This is due to the fact their busiest seasons for travel and tourism do not come in the summer months.

Younger workers (and some older) make majority of labor pool

More than 6.2 million 16-19 year olds were in the general labor force in April 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number is expected to increase to more than seven million during the peak summer months, with many being restaurant employees. Restaurants are the economy’s largest employer of teenagers, providing job opportunities for nearly two million 16-19 year olds, or 35 percent of all working teens.

The other younger age segment with the largest seasonal employment numbers are 20-24 year olds. Restaurants are the economy’s second largest employer of 20-24 year olds. Nearly two million from this age group work at restaurants, accounting for 21 percent of the sector’s workforce.

The NRA report also notes that adults 65 and over made up 11.4 of the labor force in April 2024, an increase of one million from April 2019. This age group made up just three percent of the restaurant employees, but that number could grow as more workers 65 and over continue to increase.

Here are some notes about the data compiled in the National Restaurant Association's 2024 Eating and Drinking Place Summer Employment Forecast:

  • Eating and drinking places are the primary component of the restaurant and foodservice industry, which the National Restaurant Association defines as that which encompasses all meals and snacks prepared away from home. Eating and drinking places account for approximately three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce.
  • Summer employment is defined as the average number of eating and drinking place jobs in June, July and August.
  • The number of summer jobs is the difference between the projected total 2024 summer employment and the March 2024 employment level.  
  • Generally, the U.S. restaurant industry begins to ramp up its summer seasonal hiring in April, and it peaks in June, July and August.
  • The restaurant industry is typically the nation’s second largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months – ranking only behind the construction industry.
Published: June 6th, 2024

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