Restaurants are expected to add 522,000 jobs this summer season, according to National Restaurant Association projections released today. The projected 2015 gain would represent the third consecutive year in which restaurants add at least 500,000 jobs during the summer season. Texas is projected to add 26,500 jobs, putting the state fourth behind New York (46,600), California (44,400) and Massachusetts (29,200) in summer job growth. "Summer is the busiest season for restaurants in most parts of the country, and the stronger business leads to additional employment opportunities at all levels of a restaurant operation," said Bruce Grindy, chief economist for the National Restaurant Association. "In many states with tourism-driven economies, restaurants satisfy both travelers' cravings for food, as well as job-seekers' hunger for employment." "Driven by an improving economy, dampened gas prices and consumers' elevated levels of pent-up demand for restaurants, 2015 will represent the third consecutive summer with a gain of at least a half-million restaurant jobs," Grindy added. "Eating and drinking places added a record 551,200 summer jobs during the 2013 summer season, followed by 535,900 jobs during the 2014 season." The restaurant industry is typically the nation's second largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months - ranking only behind the construction industry. Summer employment is defined as the average number of eating-and-drinking-place jobs in June, July and August. The number of summer jobs is the difference between the projected total 2015 summer employment and the March 2015 employment level. Generally, the U.S. restaurant industry begins to ramp up its summer seasonal hiring in April, and it peaks in June, July and August. Eating and drinking places account for approximately three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce.