NRF: Labor Market Needs Attention

According to the National Retail Federation, recent employment trends suggest that the Federal government needs to change its priorities. Pushing issues such as patent, tax and immigration reform to the forefront will help sustain the economy and add jobs, the organization stated.

NRF maintained that retail employment was down 21,600 jobs in January but up 230,000 jobs year-over-year. The organization noted that December retail employment figures had been revised up to a gain of 57,000 jobs.

In statements made Friday on the January jobs report, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said, “While it is always positive to see an increase in private sector hiring and a decrease in unemployment, it is alarming that employment can’t shift into a higher gear. Despite seasonal factors at play in today’s employment report, it remains incumbent on policymakers to lead the nation’s recovery and move beyond partisan disputes over raising the debt ceiling and refocus attention on patent, tax and immigration reform, which will spur economic growth, opportunity and job creation.”
NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz added, “Once again the jobs report was disappointing and weather was a major factor. Even though employment gains in the retail sector declined for the month due to severe winter weather and additional seasonal factors, the economy is primed for a rebound. The decreases in retail jobs were mostly localized and focused on specific categories, especially sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.”
NRF noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report showed that January total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 with the unemployment rate at 6.6% and the labor force participation rate at 63%.