The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the U.S. economy added a net 175,000 jobs in February, up from 84,000 in December and 129,000 in January.
According to the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy, the restaurant industry added a net 21,200 jobs in February, its 48th consecutive monthly gain for a total of more than 1.2 million jobs.
"The economy rebounded from its winter slump to post respectable employment growth in February," Grindy said in a news release. "While February's increase is an improvement from the sluggish gains of the previous two months, it still remains short of the average monthly gains of more than 200,000 jobs registered during all of 2013. Still, February's payroll gains outstripped expectations, and suggest that the downtick in growth was more related to the weather than a softening in the overall economy.
Job growth in February was led by the professional and business services sector, with 79,000 net jobs, representing the sector's strongest gain in 12 months, the release said.
The construction sector and healthcare and social assistance sector both added 15,000 jobs in February, while manufacturers added a net 6,000 jobs.
"Looking forward, restaurant operators' outlook for the economy remains a mixed bag. In the February 2014 Tracking Survey, only 29 percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months. This represented the seventh consecutive month in which fewer than 30 percent of restaurant operators expected the economy to improve in six months," Grindy said. "Twenty percent of February respondents expect economic conditions to deteriorate in the next six months, while the remaining 51 percent expect economic conditions to remain generally unchanged in the months ahead."