The Distilled Spirits Council and American Beverage Licensees hailed today’s Department of Labor (DOL) jobs report attributing the largest portion of the growth in employment to the food and drinks sector.

“The hospitality sector is one of the core pillars of the U.S. economy – directly supporting nearly 11.8 million jobs,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz. “It is a testament to the strong growth of the spirits sector, and overall hospitality sector, that it was a highlight of a robust jobs report.”

The Council estimated that overall retail sales of distilled spirits in the U.S. market reached nearly $78 billion in 2016, supporting more than 1.4 million jobs.

“America’s beer, wine and spirits retailers continue to the lead the way when it comes to providing good-paying jobs in their communities,” said American Beverage Licensees Executive Director John Bodnovich. “Bars, taverns and package stores support their local, state and national economies and will continue to work with industry partners, regulators and lawmakers to sustain continued growth in the beverage industry.”

According to today’s report from the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, with employment in food services and drinking places increasing by 53,000. The sector has added 313,000 jobs in 2017 to date.