Retail jobs up again in May, as unemployment rate continues to drop
The retail industry employment increased by 28,800 jobs seasonally adjusted in May over April and 100,000 jobs unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation said. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, U.S. businesses added 223,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.
“May’s rebound in jobs together with yesterday’s report of solid income growth and the rise in consumer confidence points to the economy functioning very well,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Solid fundamentals in the job market are encouraging for retail spending, as employment gains generate additional income for consumers and consequently increase spending.”
“With the unemployment rate of 3.8 percent at its lowest since April 2000, shows that many industries including retail are hiring and creating jobs at a steady pace. We expect this rate to continue to decline as the fiscal stimulus and tax cuts are further absorbed in the economy,” Kleinhenz said.
May’s numbers followed an upwardly revised combined increase of 19,300 jobs for March and April. The three-month moving average in May showed an increase of 19,000 jobs.
Retail registered monthly gains nearly in all segments with the most robust increases concentrated in three sectors: general merchandise stores, which were up 13,400; clothing and clothing accessory stores, up 6,500; and building and garden supplies, up 6,000. Losses were concentrated in two sectors: health and personal care stores, down 800 jobs; and non-store which includes online, down 1,100 jobs.
Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in May increased by 8 cents — 2.7 percent — year-over-year.
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.