Eateries Cut Jobs as Diners Tighten Belts

The industry has shed 66,500 jobs over the past five months as consumers spend less
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2008 9:45 AM CST
A group of employees, suspected of being undocumented workers, at a San Diego restaurant.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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(Newser) – Restaurant workers are losing their jobs in record numbers as consumers rein in spending and the industry contends with rising ingredient prices, reports the Wall Street Journal. One of the largest US employers, the restaurant industry has been a haven for the unemployed and immigrant workers. Over the past five months it’s lost 66,500 jobs, in the longest stretch of losses since the government began tracking them, in 1990.

Starbucks and Chili’s have begun to shutter unprofitable locations and servers say they’re seeing tips decline as customers cut back. "It is and will continue to be harder to find employment," says a National Restaurant Association researcher. Eateries increasingly are requiring more of their remaining workers, combining duties to save money.