As new eateries pop up across the region, the number of restaurant employees has risen sharply – a big factor in the area’s declining unemployment rate.
About 77,000 people worked at restaurants in the four-county region in November, up 13 percent from November 2015, according to the latest state employment figures.
That’s nearly triple the rate of job growth seen in other sectors.
About one of every five new, local jobs created in the last two years came in the restaurant industry. Sacramento restaurants employ more people today than either the construction industry or local school districts.
The restaurant industry tends to expand and contract rapidly with the economy. When the economy is doing well, more people have extra money to spend dining out – and vice versa. Sacramento’s unemployment rate – a key indicator of the state of the region’s economy – stood at 3.7 percent in November , the lowest since at least 1990.
The Sacramento area is also in the midst of a push to brand itself as a “farm-to-fork capital,” and excitement around that effort may drive some of the sector’s job growth.
In addition, the downtown and midtown areas – hubs of local restaurant activity – are thriving, with multiple residential construction projects underway and thousands regularly coming downtown to visit the new Golden 1 Center.
About 100 restaurants exist today in downtown and midtown that didn’t exist five years ago, according to a Bee analysis of county health inspection records.
Downtown and midtown restaurants that opened in the last five years