156,000 New Jobs Added in the U.S., What Does This Mean for the Restaurant Industry?

Restaurant chef

According to the latest labor report, the U.S. created 156,000 new jobs in August.

Although economists expected this number to be closer to 170,000 and the unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.3 percent to 4.4 percent, we still saw significant growth in the job market last month. 

This also means consumer spending, especially at restaurants, is up.

“The August jobs report generally offers positive news to job seekers, illustrating the remarkable resilience of the job market today,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor to "MarketWatch." 

The jobless rate has fallen to a 16-year low. 

"The U-6 unemployment rate, which captures all labor underutilization, including unemployed and discouraged workers, fell 0.1 percentage points in August to 7.4 percent—the lowest it has been since April 2001. Meanwhile, the share of the labor force working part-time for economic reasons fell to 2.7 percent in August, down from 3.6 percent in January 2017. This is the lowest it has been since April 2006," writes the White House in a recent labor report. 

The sectors adding the most jobs include construction, health care, and manufacturing. 

However, workers' wages have seen sluggish growth at .1 percent. Wages have increased by 2.5 percent in the last 12 months, which is less than the usual 3-4 percent during an economic recovery period. This could also be because high salaried baby boomers are retiring and leaving the job market. 

Nonetheless, President Donald Trump was quick to celebrate the wage report on Twitter. 

"We are breaking all Jobs and Economic Records but, importantly, our Country has TREMENDOUS FUTURE POTENTIAL. We have just begun!" tweeted Trump. 

So what does this mean for the restaurant industry

Well, the good news is that consumers are dining out more often. The bad news is that there is a lot of competition in the labor market. This has made it especially difficult for restaurants, especially fast food chains, to hire and retain staff.  Fast food chains with low employee satisfaction suffer the most in a tight labor market.

Read more about the latest labor report at "MarketWatch."