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Oregon recession swallows restaurant industry

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Sunday, February 01, 2009
Oregon’s full-service and limited-service restaurants provide about one out of 15 jobs statewide, more than 118,000 jobs combined in August 2008. Last summer, employment in both industries was similar to their levels of one year earlier. But as fall arrived, employment dropped. In November, full-service restaurants provided 2,500 fewer jobs than one year earlier. Limited-service restaurants employed 2,300 fewer. Bill Perry, VP of the Oregon Restaurant Association, said, “three or four weeks ago the restaurant business just dropped off,” as reported by oregonbizreport.com in early December. When consumers feel the weight of declining home values, shrinking retirement accounts, falling stock values and increasingly tenuous job markets, they cut back on discretionary dining. This puts bottom-line profits and restaurant employment prospects across the state on a diet. Oregon is not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of November, U.S. food services and drinking establishments had lost jobs for five straight months, the longest string of consecutive losses since 1990, when the data series began.


GUY TAUER
WorkSource Oregon employment economist
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