New analysis by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) shows that the restaurant industry has continued to post solid job growth at more than double the rate of the overall economy. Since the employment recovery began in March 2010, the restaurant industry has added 645,000 jobs, including nearly 16,000 jobs in September.

Foodservice establishments added nearly 71,000 jobs in the third quarter of 2012, bringing the total number of industry positions created this year to more than 185,000. In the 12 months ending September 2012, restaurant employment jumped 2.9 percent, more than double the 1.4 percent increase in total U.S. employment during the same period.

Restaurants have been the third-largest private sector job creator since the employment recovery began, with current industry staffing levels standing 263,000 jobs above the pre-recession peak. The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private sector employer with a workforce of nearly 13 million – almost 10 percent of the U.S. workforce.

"Employment growth is at the center of the economic recovery, and our industry is one of the leaders," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. "Restaurants continue to outperform the economy in job creation, but the uneven performance of the overall economy is concerning. There is no substitute for solid U.S. job growth, as employed consumers drive restaurant industry sales by increased spending and need for convenience of away-from-home meals."

On the state level, Texas (10.2 percent), New York (9.9 percent), Hawaii (9.8 percent), Louisiana (9.2 percent) and the District of Columbia (8.3 percent) show the strongest restaurant employment growth between August 2010 and August 2012 (the latest state data available).

By most restaurant jobs were added in Texas (82,200), California (63,200), New York (52,300), Florida (31,700) and North Carolina (17,500).

The NRA projects that the restaurant industry nationwide will add 1.4 million positions in the next decade, reaching 14.3 million. The fastest growing positions include supervisors and food-and-beverage-serving workers. The restaurant workforce skews younger, with 16- to 24-year olds holding nearly 4 in 10 foodservice positions, and more than half of restaurant workers being under the age of 30.

Restaurants and bars are the primary component of the foodservice industry.

Read more about staffing and training.

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