WASHINGTON — Retail industry employment in November increased by 18,600 jobs, seasonally adjusted from October, according to the National Retail Federation. That represents 12% of the 155,000-job increase reported by the Labor Department for the economy overall.
But retail employment was down by 16,300 jobs (unadjusted) versus November 2017. The NRF said a tight labor market made it hard for retailers to fill positions. The retail numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“These are satisfying numbers that indicate the economy continues its momentum of growth,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The gains have come despite events ranging from wildfires in some parts of the country to snowstorms in other areas that likely kept the growth from being even larger. In retail, the tight labor market has created sizable challenges in hiring — there are actually more retail jobs available than there are people to fill them. Retailers would hire more workers if they could find them.”
November’s retail job numbers followed a revised loss of 9,100 jobs in October from September. Unemployment for all of retail was 4.2%, which, combined with October’s 4.1%, makes the lowest two-month average since the Great Recession.
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