AT A GLANCE

  • The leisure and hospitality industry has been growing, with 57,000 jobs added in May 2015, according to the BLS
  • According to labor experts, a booming leisure industry points to a healthy economy, because when people have money to spend and confidence in their jobs, they treat themselves to more food, drinks, and vacations
  • The median annual wage for chefs and head cooks is $42,480, with the top ten percent earning more than $74,120 annually

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Jul 01, 2015

Industry Highlight: Leisure & Hospitality Index

The leisure and hospitality industry includes hotels, amusement parks, casinos, restaurants, tourist attractions, and theatres. Employment in this industry is often concentrated near coastal areas, landmarks, and other places popular for vacations. The industry has been growing, with 57,000 jobs added in May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

DCR TrendLine Leisure and Hospitality Employment and Wage Index

DCR TrendLine Leisure and Hospitality Employment and Wage Index

Source: BLS

Within the industry, employment increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation sectors by 29,000 jobs, while employment in food services and drinking places has shown little net change over the past three months. Performing arts and spectator sports sector employment increased by 13,000 in May 2015.

Employment in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Over-the-month Change, May 2015

Employment in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Over-the-month Change, May 2015

Source: BLS

According to labor experts, a booming leisure industry points to a healthy economy, because when people have money to spend and confidence in their jobs, they treat themselves to more food, drinks, and vacations.

Unemployment in the Leisure and Hospitality Industry

Unemployment in the Leisure and Hospitality Industry

Source: BLS

The BLS projects a 0.9 percent annual growth rate for the industry between 2012 and 2022. The industry as a whole, according to industry observers, needs to determine how to improve worker retention and become more skilled in identifying who will truly enjoy working in the industry.

A recent survey by CEB, a corporate advisory company, shows that the biggest pain point for small leisure and hospitality businesses has been finding quality help.

Job Openings and Hires in Leisure and Hospitality

  Job Openings and Hires in Leisure and Hospitality

Source: BLS

Job Title Focus – Chefs and Head Cooks

According to BLS, chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They also direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.
Most chefs and head cooks acquire their skills through work experience. However, a growing number are receiving formal training through community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 4-year colleges. Some learn their skills through mentorship programs or apprenticeship programs. Executive chefs who work in fine-dining restaurants often have many years of training and experience.

The median annual wage for this job is $42,480, with the top ten percent earning more than $74,120 annually. In 2012, about 13 percent of chefs and head cooks were self-employed. The level of pay varies greatly by region and employer. Pay is often highest in upscale restaurants and hotels, as well as in major metropolitan and resort areas.

The BLS predicts that employment for this job will grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022. Population and income growth is expected to result in a greater demand for dining venues and establishments. However, employment growth might be limited, as many restaurants may choose to hire cooks or other food service workers to perform the work normally done by higher-paid chefs and head cooks.

“The economy is picking up and they’re having less trouble getting customers and selling things, but they’re having more problems with quality of labor.” ~Nauman Haque, Research Director at CEB

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