Market Overview

August Retail Jobs Increase Nearly 90,000 Over 2017


Retail industry employment in August increased by 89,100 jobs unadjusted
over the same time last year despite a seasonally adjusted drop of 9,700
jobs from July, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers
exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall,
U.S. businesses added 201,000 jobs over May, the Labor Department said.

"The strong overall job growth across industries reflects the tight
labor market but also shows that the economy is strong," NRF Chief
Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "Hiring is an important driver of
consumer confidence and a confident consumer is a confident spender.
Consumers are continuing to drive the economy forward, but the
developing trade war remains a threat to the progress we're seeing."

Kleinhenz said the monthly drop was not a cause for concern because of
large employment fluctuations typically seen during the summer. The
year-over-year increase shows the strength and health of the retail
industry, and the industry continues to have a sizeable number of job
openings, he said.

August's numbers followed a revised monthly gain of 300 jobs in July
over June, which had originally been reported as a 3,100-job increase.
Coupled with a significant downward revision by the Labor Department to
June's numbers, the three-month moving average in August showed a loss
of 18,800 jobs.

August saw monthly gains in sporting goods stores, which were up by
9,200 jobs; grocery and beverage stores, which were up 3,500, and
non-store, which includes online, which was up 2,800. Losses were
concentrated in clothing and clothing accessory stores, which were down
20,800; general merchandise, down 3,100; building supplies and
materials, down 2,200; furniture and home furnishings, down 2,000, and
electronics and appliances, down 1,400.

Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in August were up 10 cents over
July and 77 cents from a year ago, a year-over-year increase of 2.9
percent, the largest increase since April 2009. The Labor Department
said the unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent.

Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department
do not provide an accurate picture of the industry because they count
only employees who work in stores while excluding retail workers in
other parts of the business such as corporate headquarters, distribution
centers, call centers and innovation labs.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade
association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and
department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street
merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet
retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is
the nation's largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four
U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to
annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.


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