Middle-class Jobs Are Growing Rapidly in Restaurants

The restaurant industry is adding middle-class jobs at a faster pace than the overall economy.

The restaurant industry added middle class jobs* at a rate more than three times stronger than the overall economy during the recovery from the Great Recession, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.   

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of restaurant jobs with annual income between $45,000 and $74,999 jumped 84 percent. In comparison, middle-class jobs in the overall economy rose just 24 percent during the same 8-year period.

*For the purposes of this analysis, middle class jobs are defined as those with annual income between $45,000 and $74,999

The industry’s middle-class job growth is particularly impressive because most restaurant employees work on a part-time or part-year basis. Only 45 percent of restaurant workers are full-time/full-year employees, compared to 71 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

Read more analysis and commentary from the National Restaurant Association’s chief economist Bruce Grindy.