Market Overview

Retail Job Number Hitting Scary Levels

Retail Job Number Hitting Scary Levels

The March employment report from the U.S. Labor Department revealed that most of the U.S. economy is performing at its highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis. But while most sectors are flying high, the retail sector may be unraveling.

The U.S. economy added another 98,000 jobs on the month, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent. But while the professional business services sector added 56,000 jobs, factories increased payrolls by 11,000 and construction payrolls increased by 6,000, the retail sector shed 30,000 jobs on the month. In February, the retail sector cut 31,000 jobs. The two-month drop of 61,000 total retail jobs represents the worst two-month stretch for retailers since 2009.

A number of observers took to Twitter to put the weak retail numbers into perspective. Bloomberg Intelligence economist Michael McDonough tweeted the graph below of the transition in the retail space from brick-and-mortar stores to online retail.

With the rise of e-commerce unlikely to peak anytime soon retail investors may be looking at the possibility of a secular decline in business. In the past year, the SPDR S&P Retail (ETF) (NYSE: XRT) is down 8.2 percent.

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Posted-In: Bloomberg Intelligence jobs March jobs figures March jobs numbersNews Sector ETFs Econ #s ETFs Best of Benzinga

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