Restaurant jobs plummeted by 5.5 million in April
One in four jobs lost in the country last month were in restaurants and bars
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report today, May 8, detailing the employment situation. A staggering 20.5 million jobs were lost last month, taking the unemployment rate up to 14.7%.
Unsurprisingly, the food service sector was hit particularly hard: restaurants and bars lost 5.5 million jobs in April 2020. That means one in four of the overall jobs lost were in restaurants and bars.
Payroll employment in food services and drinking establishments fell from around 11.9 million in March to 6.4 million in April.
When we include the figures from February, a total of 5.9 million people in the restaurant industry have lost their jobs so far throughout the pandemic. That doesn’t include employees who weren’t on payroll, such as undocumented workers and all those who have filed claims for unemployment benefits since the data was collected in mid-April.
According to Restaurant Business, this massive loss has wiped out three decades of restaurant and bar jobs in just over six weeks. Employment levels in the sector are now where they were in the late ‘80s. Overall labor figures haven’t been this bad since the Great Depression.
But as many states are easing stay-at-home orders, some restaurants are reopening and have rehired their staff.
Kevin Armantrout lost his job as CEO of Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant. He told Restaurant Business: “People in this industry work very hard. It’s a very unique club to work through the trenches. You have to keep telling yourself this is temporary.”