Next time you read a report about how many jobs the economy has added, remember that not all of them are good jobs. Food services accounted for nearly 30% of the jobs created in August, Bloomberg reports, and most of that growth is coming from fast-food chains like Wendy's and Starbucks, and a new breed of quick-service restaurant chains like Protein Bar. These cut-rate eateries are booming, even as overall restaurant traffic remains down.
August was the 19th straight month the sector has grown, and it has increased its payrolls almost twice as quickly as the economy at large. But most of those jobs are low-wage, low-skill positions. What's more, the hiring could soon taper off, one economist says, because food sales are expected to slow, especially among the young people who most love fast food. "They'll still eat," he says, "but they'll eat the dollar special."