A Better Economy Thrusts Restaurants Into Ultra-Hiring Mode

An economy that is starting to boom—well, at least it feels like a boom compared with its multi-year-long sluggishness—is forcing restaurants to hire vigorously. Domino's is having its first-ever hiring week, with free pizza offered in exchange for job applications.

Hiring at chains from Red Robin Gourmet Burgers to Domino's Pizza lifted the number of leisure and hospitality jobs to a record 14.2 million in June, with hiring 80 percent stronger so far this year than in 2012, Bloomberg reports. The sector now accounts for about 10.5 percent of the U.S. workforce, also a record since the government started tracking jobs in 1939.

As the pressure from personal economic belt-tightening starts to loosen, consumers with a lot of pentup demands start to go out to eat. It's a lot cheaper than remodeling a kitchen and it starts to feel like celebrating. Recent increases in new jobs help, too. The economy has regained 6 million jobs in recent years. That's 6 million more people who can afford to go out, said Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

So far this year share prices have risen 29 percent at Starbucks, 31 percent at Dunkin' Brands and 52 percent at Sonic, all outstripping the 19 percent advance in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

For more:
- See Bloomberg story

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