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Occupations related to eating and drinking: Fast employment growth projected, 2021–31

| February 2023

Food and drink are essential. And many occupations related to food and drink provide growing employment opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in selected occupations that work with food and drink to grow faster than the 5-percent average for all occupations from 2021 to 2031. As the chart shows, bartenders lead the way with a projected employment increase of 18 percent. Some of the projected growth for bartenders is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession of 2020, but demand for this occupation also is expected to coincide with rising demand from consumers dining out, especially in full-service eating and drinking places.

New jobs from employment growth aren’t the only source of openings expected from 2021 to 2031. Openings also are projected to arise from the need to replace workers who leave their occupation to retire, to enter a different occupation, or for other reasons. Of the occupations shown, fast food and counter workers is expected to have the most openings, averaging 741,400 per year over the decade.

You can enter most of these occupations with a high school diploma or less education. Two exceptions: agricultural and food science technicians typically require an associate’s degree, and agricultural and food scientists typically need a bachelor's degree. In addition, some of these occupations typically require experience to enter, and most require on-the-job training to attain competency.

Learn more about the duties, wages, outlook and more for these occupations and hundreds of others in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Dustin Riles is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS.

Suggested citation:

Dustin Riles, "Occupations related to eating and drinking: Fast employment growth projected, 2021–31," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2023.

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