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ICSC: Shopping Centers Bolstering Income, Employment

Retailers, restaurants and bars were the biggest contributors to April’s employment growth in the United States, according to numbers recently released by the U.S. government and by the International Council of Shopping Centers. ICSC also noted that shopping centers are making net income gains.

U.S. shopping center retail jobs rose by 33,000, accounting for a fifth of the 165,000 jobs the economy added in April, ICSC noted. Restaurants and bars hired another 38,000 people. ICSC’s figure for retail jobs added is higher than the government’s 29,000 number, the organization pointed out.

During the 12 months ending in April, U.S. shopping centers filled 213,000 jobs, ICSC asserted. The industry now provides jobs for 12.5 million people, accounting for 9.3% of all payroll employment, maintained ICSC, which analyzed statistics used by the U.S. Department of Labor. By April, the sector’s retail employment has recovered slightly over a half-million jobs since hitting its previous cyclical low in December 2009, ICSC stated.

“The shopping center industry is a crucial driver of the economic recovery,” noted ICSC president and CEO Michael Kercheval. “These numbers illustrate that retail and retail development is a major economic pillar.”

Revisions to February and March employment figures issued by the government showed that the economy added 114,000 jobs during those two months, ICSC related.

The organization, with The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, also released figures indicating that, in the first quarter, total operating income of all U.S. shopping centers on a square foot basis rose 5.5% year over year, and that net operating income per square foot advanced 5.5% from the annum-earlier period