For the sixth month in a row, the employment data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were positive for Quick Service restaurant stocks.
The data, detailed in the chart below, shows that the 20-24 year old age cohort saw month-over-month employment growth of +3.6% versus +2.3% in December. Unemployment in this demographic, a key source of traffic for QSR companies, is extremely high on an absolute scale but this acceleration in employment growth for young people is - on the margin - positive.
MCD, SONC, JACK, BKC, YUM, and WEN have all mentioned unemployment among younger age cohorts as being a primary impediment to same-store sales growth over the past year or so.
While the preponderance of the news of late has not been positive for QSR, specifically as it relates to commodity cost headwinds, this data point is positive on the margin.