WASHINGTON, 2017-Oct-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Retail industry employment saw a modest decline in September, decreasing 4,600 jobs from revised August figures, the National Retail Federation said today (October 6, 2017). The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. The economy overall saw a loss of 33,000 jobs in September.
“The recent hurricanes have caused distortions to economic figures and September employment numbers are likely to undergo dramatic revisions,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The silver lining is that hourly wages continue to gradually increase, giving households more spending power as the all-important holiday season approaches. Overall, the underlying momentum of the economy and the strength of the labor market remains firm.”
Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department don’t paint an entirely accurate picture of the industry because they count only employees who work in stores while excluding retail workers in other parts of the business like corporate headquarters, distribution centers, call centers and innovation labs.
Economy-wide, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents – 2.9 percent – over the past 12 months. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate decreased to 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent in August.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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.