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What May’s Surprising Jobs Report Means for Foodservice Franchises

The economy saw 2.5 million jobs added in May, with the biggest gains in hospitality.

May’s job report arrived Friday, and the numbers are, somewhat shockingly, promising. After two months of catastrophic losses, economists predicted another gloomy report for May, so it was to the surprise of just about everyone that the U.S. Department of Labor reported that unemployment fell from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May, with a gain of 2.5 million jobs.

The news is particularly good for the hospitality sector, including thousands of foodservice franchise brands that took massive hits throughout March and April. Hospitality accounted for the most dramatic gains in Friday’s report, seeing a 14.4-percent jump in jobs. 

Those gains may point toward an optimism among business owners and consumers alike that foodservice spending will return this summer. 

But while franchisors should be heartened by that outlook, they are nowhere near out of the woods yet. As the New York Times points out, “trillions of dollars in government assistance that have helped keep the economy on life support may be nearing their end.”

Still, it’s hard not to be excited by any sign of recovery in the hospitality sector, whose viability as a whole was thrown into question at the nadir of the coronavirus crisis. Now that states across the U.S. have begun to reopen, industry pros will be looking eagerly to the June report to see if reopenings continue to push gains in the sector.