Restaurants and bars are downsizing again.
The sector the Department of Labor describes as “food service and drinking establishments” was one of the hardest hit by the lockdowns in March and April. Even after recovering for the last five month, bars and restaurants now only employ around 10.1 million workers, more than 2 million fewer than it did last October.
Revived lockdowns and curtailed business hours have put a stop to the employment growth. The sector shed 93,000 jobs in November before seasonal adjustments.
A fresh wave of mass layoffs in the industry could be even more economically damaging than the first. Congress has not passed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, which encouraged employers to keep workers on the payroll by supplying them with cheap, forgivable loans. And newly jobless workers no longer have access to the super-sized unemployment benefits they did over the spring and summer.