It’s the largest quarterly jump in years. For comparison, hourly limited-service employees saw their wages rise just 4.1% in the first quarter compared with a year prior.
Many industries have been struggling to find enough willing workers as demand rebounds, but restaurants in particular have been hard pressed by labor challenges. The July unemployment rate was 8.4% for eating and drinking places, up from 5.9% two years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Black Box data showed that full-service restaurants are operating with 6.2 fewer employees in the kitchens and 2.8 fewer in the front of the house than in 2019.
Layoffs and furloughs last year soured some restaurant employees on the industry, while others are staying home due to lack of access to child care or health concerns related to the ongoing pandemic. A Snagajob survey of 4,700 former and current hourly workers found that 18% of unemployed workers had to leave a job to take care of family members.