Restaurants are expected to add 425,000 jobs this summer season, a 4.6 percent increase over the March 2011 employment level, according to National Restaurant Association projections released today.

This year shows the strongest summer employment projections since 2007, underscoring that the restaurant industry is heading into better economic times.

Restaurants are the nation's second-largest private-sector employer and job creator — with nearly 13 million employees, or almost 10 percent of the U.S. workforce — a number projected to grow by 1.3 million positions in the next decade.

"The restaurant industry has outperformed the overall economy when it comes to job creation for the past year, proving its role as a key driver to economic recovery and growth in America," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the NRA. "Seasonal employment is an important indicator of industry performance, as well as a stimulus for local economies across the nation."

The states projected to add the most restaurant jobs during the 2011 summer season are New York (39,700), California (35,100), Massachusetts (27,100), New Jersey (23,200), Illinois (21,000), Michigan (20,200), Ohio (19,700) and Texas (18,600).

The full summer employment forecast by state is available here.

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