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For New Yorkers who see city blocks packed with food joints every day, it’s pretty evident that the restaurant industry is booming. Now the numbers are in: The National Restaurant Association reports that restaurants have added more than 560,000 jobs since the beginning of the economic recovery in March 2010; 200,000 of those positions were created in the last six months.
For 13 consecutive years, the restaurant industry’s growth has outpaced overall employment growth in the U.S. The most popular positions in the industry are restaurant supervisors and servers; half of its current workforce is under 30.
While the industry is growing, wage growth for its employees is declining, according to the PayScale Index. The organization reports that the food-services industry had the only negative wage growth in 2012 among all industries monitored. But this trend is not irreversible. The National Restaurant Association has expressed interest in helping hourly workers become small-business owners via various educational programs, like ProStart. And there’s a national debate going on over raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour.