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Restaurant industry's hiring helping to revive economy
[November 28, 2010]

Restaurant industry's hiring helping to revive economy

DAYTON, Nov 28, 2010 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Hiring in the restaurant industry is picking up steam, experts say, and has been a major contributor to the economic recovery across the nation and in the Miami Valley.

Since the beginning of the year, U.S. bars and restaurants have added 143,000 jobs, growing at four times the rate of the rest of the economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although many of the jobs are part-time and offer low pay, restaurant owners say skilled positions -- including cooks and various management positions -- remain in demand.

Restaurant jobs historically have been seen as a bellwether of the economy. When the local economy suffers -- the Dayton area lost an estimated 37,000 jobs from 2005 to 2009, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services -- so too do local restaurants, as budget-conscious consumers cut back on eating out.

The economy remains a work in progress. In fact, the unemployment rates for Dayton and Montgomery County increased last month, after decreasing or holding steady for the previous three months. Still, both rates were lower than a year ago, providing a glimmer of hope after a long downward slide.

The Ohio Restaurant Association projects modest but steady growth over the next decade, with Ohio bars and restaurants expected to add 27,800 positions. That would bring total employment in the industry to 559,700 by 2020.

At that rate, nearly 1,000 new restaurant positions will open in the Miami Valley over the next decade, based on bureau figures that show the local area was home to about 19,000 restaurant workers at the beginning of this year.

Restaurant jobs comprise roughly 10 percent of the Ohio work force.

"Sales continue to increase, and we haven't stopped hiring all year,'' said Sean Wiseman, general manager at Champps Restaurant and Bar in Washington Twp. "I'm still looking for five or 10 more people in January, in all departments.'' Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2437 or [email protected].

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