For Food Service and Retail Workers, 2016 is Looking Bright

food service industry is thrilled to report high job gains seen last month for the retail and food service industry.  The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in January, and while this number is lower than the 262,000 jobs added in December 2015 (which takes into account seasonal adjustments), jobs are growing rapidly in retail and food service.  Furthermore, unemployment is down to 4.9%, the lowest it’s been since 2008.

“Low gas prices and lower interest rates are allowing consumers to spend more money on shopping and entertainment these days,” states Michael Derikrava, president of  “This is great news for food service and retail workers, since it is likely to lead to bigger paychecks and more job security.”

Below are some of the key details about job growth in these sectors, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Retail stores added 57,700 jobs last month, and in the past year retail employment has increased by 301,000 jobs overall.
  • Almost half of the jobs added in the retail industry over the past 12 months were in the motor vehicle and parts dealers and general merchandise subsectors.
  • The food service industry added 48,800 jobs in January and over the past year there were 384,000 food service jobs added to the U.S. economy.

On top of having more jobs available to them, workers in the food service and retail industry are also likely to receive better pay than they were a year ago.  Below is some data on the salary gains seen in January and over the past year:

  • Overall, wage growth has gone up 2.5% for the past year.
  • In January, average hourly earnings for employees on non-farm payrolls rose $0.12 to $25.39 per hour.
  • For jobs in the retail industry, average hourly earnings have risen 2.8% over the past year, from $17.33 to $17.81.  Weekly earnings for retail workers are up 2.7% from last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • WSJ also reports that average hourly earnings have increased 3.2% over the past year for jobs in the food service industry, from $14.16 to $14.61.  Weekly earnings have risen 2.9% over the past year for food service workers.

The New York Times recently reported some very uplifting news about wage growth, stating that, with companies looking to give their employees pay raises of almost 3%, “the last six months were the best extended period of employee paychecks since the recovery began six and a half years ago.”  2016 is off to a promising start, and food service and retail workers in particular can look forward to more jobs and better pay.

About is an online job search engine that produces millions of job search results.  A large portion of employment opportunities hosted on the website are customer service jobs and food service jobs.  The online job board also holds a wealth of information on job search topics such as interviewing, resume tips, and how to find the right job. is an excellent resource for staying up to date on the latest opportunities available to jobseekers.

Read our whitepaper for more projections of the 2016 job market.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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