WASHINGTON – In October, the US restaurant industry continued to show job growth, according to the latest figures released by Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The bureau's preliminary statistics found that 12,800 jobs were added during the month on a seasonally adjusted basis at eating and drinking places alone.

This segment accounts for approximately 75 percent of the entire restaurant and foodservice workforce. The latest gain followed strong growth of 18,300 jobs in September and 21,700 jobs in August.

NRA economists said the continued uptick in employment figures signals a better economic performance, especially within the foodservice industry.

This sustained growth within the restaurant industry reflects a gradually improving overall economic environment, said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the association's Research and Knowledge Group. "Obviously employment growth is not uniform, due to localized economic infrastructures, but the trend is headed in the right direction," he added.

Eating and drinking place employment increased 1.7 percent compared with 1.1 percent for the same period a year earlier in the 12 months ended October 2011. The quick-service segment of the industry added jobs at a rate of 2.5 percent, while full-service employment rose 1.4 percent. Employment at snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, such as coffee, doughnut and ice-cream shops, was up 2.6 percent and bars and taverns added positions at a rate of 4.8 percent. Employment at catering and mobile foodservice operations grew 3.2 percent.

Conversely, foodservice contractors and cafeteria/grill-buffet units cut jobs at a 3.9 percent rate.

Since the economic recovery began, about 263,000 jobs have been added. However, employment is still down from its pre-recession employment peak.