National Restaurant Association

NRA Responds to President Obama's State of the Union

In reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, the National Restaurant Association called for the advancement of several pro-growth policies to allow the restaurant industry—the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer and creator of 230,000 net jobs in 2011—to continue its position as a leading job producer and engine of economic success.

"After adding an impressive 230,000 jobs in 2011, the strongest gain since 2006, America’s restaurant industry is expected to outpace the overall economy in job growth in 2012," says Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

"Restaurants provide jobs in every state and every Congressional district. Throughout the economic downturn, we have been one of the few industries that has continued growing, providing quality jobs that lead to fulfilling careers in our industry and others. We are 13 million jobs strong, and with the right policies, America’s restaurants will be able to create even more jobs and provide greater opportunities to more Americans.

"We applaud the President for recognizing the need to address comprehensive immigration reform now. The Association supports sensible, comprehensive reform that combines worksite enforcement and strong borders with workforce and immigration policies and a visa system that meets U.S. worksite needs.

"This is an issue that requires bipartisan solution, and although difficult, must continue to be a high priority for federal officials. The patchwork quilt of state regulations is increasingly difficult for business owners and operators to navigate. Congress must ensure that any mandatory E-Verify program is efficient and easy to use by employers of every size. Also, businesses must be able to use the H-2B visa program without new red tape.

"And we appreciate the President’s commitment to energy efficiency, which is critical for commercial and retail establishments as well as manufacturing – and can return equal or more savings.

"As the national economy continues to slowly climb from the deepest downturn since the Great Depression, the U.S. restaurant industry also is on the road to recovery. The federal government should provide long-term certainty, such as depreciation schedules that give restaurant industry and retailers the certainty they need to help spur investment and construction."

The restaurant industry is the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, providing jobs to nearly 13 million people, or one in every 10 workers. Click here to see the number of restaurant jobs in your state.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at

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