October 12

September’s Industry Insights

It’s true, September was not the best month, but it wasn’t all bad. Here’s what we saw in September for labor in the hospitality industry.

The state of employment in the food and drink industry is still complicated across the nation. September was yet another humbling month showing us that we’re not entirely out of this pandemic. Many restaurant employers tapped the brakes on staffing in caution of the Delta Variant and a rise in hospitalizations, only now beginning to fall again.  While life might be moving toward a new normal we can function in — it’s still hard out there for thousands of restaurant businesses, workers, and peripheral industries that rely on the hospitality industry. We took a look at our data and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Summary report to break down specific labor insights for the hospitality industry — here is what we saw in September.

Employer Activity
On Poached, we saw a 19% decrease in jobs posted over the last six months, potentially giving employers a much-needed break in the competitive hiring market we’ve experienced since April. While new job numbers might be changing tides, there is still a 7.6% increase in jobs posted on Poached from September 2019 to 2021. So, while new job numbers might be down from April 2021, the hiring market is still more competitive than pre-pandemic days. Employers should still plan for a tighter hiring market by optimizing their job posts and hiring budgets.

The BLS Employment Situation Summary reported notable gains in Leisure and Hospitality, adding 74,000 jobs in September. These gains were mainly supported by arts, entertainment, and recreations accounting for 43,000 jobs. The report shows that food and drinking places remained little changed from August. Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 9.4% since February 2020, driving home that we are not fully recovered from the pandemic.

Worker Activity
The good news is, we still see healthy growth in worker activity. While it’s not soaring as many expected it to after additional unemployment aid ran out, there are some promising signs from September. Overall, we saw a 35.35% increase in applications filed on Poached over the last six months and a 7% increase in resumes created or uploaded — demonstrating that people are looking for work and steadily returning to the hospitality industry.

The BLS Employment Situation Summary report shows that unemployment is steadily dropping, coming down by 0.4% in September, bringing the overall unemployment rate to 4.8%. The labor force participation rate was reported at 61.6% in September, just slightly higher than the 61.4% reported in August, and little changed since June 2020. The numbers match up to what we see on Poached. While there isn’t a spike in employment — workers are gradually re-entering the workforce.

Employer activity was understandably slow in September. On top of funding programs ending and a disrupted supply chain, we also see a typical seasonality dip in jobs created that’s existed even pre-pandemic. With all these factors playing out at once, it’s clear that we’re not out of the weeds just yet. The good news is, workers are coming back, possibly giving employers a break in the labor crunch we’ve seen over the last six months. But, don’t ease up just yet; it’s still competitive out there, and doing what you can to make your jobs more enticing is as essential as ever.

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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