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The standard thinking (well, my thinking) about the U.S. economy has been that it’s mostly shedding white-collar jobs, you know those high-salaried, middle-management, egg-sucking gigs that stifle the life out of every company. A parallel thought to that (my) standard thinking is that, should you be one of those egg-sucking middle managers who gets the ax, you can always go find a job in the hospitality biz, which is always hungry for more and better workers.

Not anymore.

Today’s Wall Street Journal (I swear to god, I read other papers too!) reports that the “restaurant industry, one of the largest U.S. employers, is experiencing its longest period of job losses on record.”

How bad is it for the restaurant industry?

The latest data showed that restaurants shed even more jobs this fall than preliminary figures had suggested. Since their employment peak in June, food-service and drinking establishments have lost 66,500 jobs, leaving the group with 9.76 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After years of growth interrupted by only short downturns, the extended decline is “definitely something different than what the food-service industry’s used to,” said George Prassas, a leisure and hospitality economist with the Labor Department.

The Journal also reports, kind of, sort of, that tips seem to be down: “Restaurant trade groups and consultants say there is no current data available to measure whether customers are leaving smaller tips, but they have heard many anecdotal reports.”

So, all you waiters and waitresses out there, is the tipping trend true? Are you getting lower tips now?