June 8

May’s Industry Insights

Here’s a report on Restaurant labor trends we saw in May to give you better insight into the current labor market for the food and drink industry.

Since the hiring market is all out of whack these days, we want to keep you up to speed with the ups and downs. And, as the leading job board for the food and drink industry, we have direct access to that data. We put together a report for May 2021 to share the labor trends we see on Poached – explicitly related to the food and drink industry. Here’s our breakdown of the labor market in May.

Employer activity
So I guess you all reopened at the same time, huh? We saw an enormous jump (to say it lightly) in jobs posted in May 2021 compared to May 2020. But, that comes as no surprise as 2020 was a dumpster fire year. The notable increase is that this last May, we saw a 16% increase in job postings, many of which were boosted multiple times, than those in May 2019 — showing that hiring right now is even more competitive than pre-covid times and quite literally unprecedented. The data suggest that competition in the industry for labor is beyond intense — and hiring will continue to be challenging.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on employment in May, showed a decent increase in overall job creation, coming in at 559,000 from 278,000 reported in April. The BLS indicates that the Leisure and Hospitality sectors were among the top contributors to the upward spike since April.

Worker activity
In May, we saw a slight increase in new job seeker registrations from April with a growth rate of 9%. Additionally, there was a 10.5% increase in new resumes created on Poached and a 10% increase in submitted applications. This is good news: workers are re-entering the workforce, albeit slowly, and the upward trend should continue as we move forward into the summer.

BLS data shows a 1.8% increase in employment for the Accommodations and Food Service sector between April and May, aligning with the slight increases we see on Poached. In a press release, the BLS reported that overall unemployment in May dropped by 0.3% to 5.8% nationwide. The outlook is bright compared to April, but the numbers are still nowhere near the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.8% of February 2020.

In short, the labor market in May didn’t change significantly from April, but there was a slight upward trend in employment, and we expect that this number will continue to increase through the summer and into the fall. The labor market is still very challenging, so employers must consider this when creating job posts. Whether that’s adding sign-on bonuses, including more information on company culture, employee benefits, or anything that makes your job stand out. These details will be key to attracting applications until we see the numbers level out.

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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