NRF: Retail Employment Up But Labor Market Tightening

With automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants excluded, retail industry employment in July increased by 66,000 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year, the National Retail Federation said.

Economy wide, businesses in the United States added 157,000 jobs versus June, NRF pointed out, citing United States Department of Labor research. Month over month, retail experienced a July increase of 3,100 jobs following a revised June loss of 23,600 jobs and a May revised of 28,000 jobs, seasonally adjusted. A three-month moving average in July showed an increase of 2,500 jobs.

July saw monthly gains in general merchandise stores, which added about 14,000 jobs. In addition, job gains occurred in clothing and accessories stores, up 10,000 jobs, and food and beverage stores, up 8,000 jobs, from the month previous. In contrast, employment decreased by 32,000 jobs in sporting, hobby, book and music stores.

The figures indicate a slight dip in the retail industry unemployment, from 4.5% to 4.4%, which underscores the reports about a tight job market within the sector, NRF stated.

“While today’s jobs release may appear disappointing after a string of monthly gains, the economy remains fundamentally strong,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “In the past, summer months tend to show large employment fluctuations due to the timing of seasonal hiring. However, consumer and business optimism remain elevated and paints a positive picture as we head into the third quarter.”