Restaurant sales

Restaurant sales and stagnant job growth in November

The restaurant industry’s recovery from the springtime depth of the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to stall in November, according to jobs, sales and traffic data released this week.

Overall national unemployment in November fell slightly to 6.7% in November, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, but food services and drinking places lost 17,400 net jobs.

“The decline in employment in November was not a complete surprise, as restaurant sales growth stalled in October,” according to the monthly report of the National Restaurant Association. “As a result, the restaurant industry remains 2.1 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus level.”

Dallas-based Block Box Intelligence said the November restaurant on Thursday comparable store sales decreased 10.3% and same-store traffic fell 16.3% as most of the country saw an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths, leading to more local restrictions.

“Restaurant sales fell again in November, posting the worst results since August,” Black Box reported, noting that it was a 3.8 percentage point drop from results in November. october. It was the first month since April that restaurant sales performance deteriorated month-over-month.

“The last time sales growth declined in April, the country was at the peak of stay-at-home guidelines and under the most restrictive dining capacity limits,” Black Box said.

Restaurant association chief economist Bruce Grindy noted that a resumption of job growth in the industry does not have an immediate catalyst in the immediate future.

“Given increasing restrictions on indoor dining and the likelihood of significantly reduced holiday celebrations, business conditions will remain extremely challenging in the months ahead,” he noted.

A survey conducted by an association in November found that half of restaurateurs expect their workforce to decline over the next three months. “Only 5% of operators plan to increase their workforce over the next three months,” the association said.

By segment, full-service operators (58%) were more likely than limited-service restaurateurs (40%) to say they plan to reduce their workforce in the next three months.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November.

“The pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed in recent months,” the office said. “In November, notable employment gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care. Employment fell in government and retail trade.

November’s loss of jobs in restaurant establishments led the Independent Restaurant Coalition to stress its call for federal aid to the industry.

“We’ve been warning Congress for months that winter will bring another wave of closings and layoffs — they’re here,” the coalition said in a statement. “Outdoor dining is a distant memory, while indoor dining has been restricted in many states across the country and, unlike March, restaurants have already suffered 10 months of declining revenue.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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