Retail Jobs Grew 18,600 in November, Accounted for 12 Percent of Nationwide Job Growth

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Retail industry employment in November increased by 18,600 jobs
seasonally adjusted from October, accounting for 12 percent of the
155,000-job increase reported by the Labor Department for the economy
overall, the National Retail Federation said today. Year-over-year,
retail employment was down by 16,300 jobs unadjusted as a tight labor
market made it difficult 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.”

“It’s significant that retail accounts for roughly one out of eight of
the jobs created across the economy in November, which shows the
importance of retail to job creation,” Kleinhenz said. “And general
merchandise – which includes department stores – accounted for a quarter
of the nation’s job gains.”

November’s retail job numbers followed a revised loss of 9,100 jobs in
October from September. The three-month moving average as of November
showed a loss of 6,700 jobs. Unemployment for all of retail was 4.2
percent, which combined with October’s 4.1 percent makes the lowest
two-month average since the Great Recession.

November saw monthly gains 39,300 jobs at general merchandise stores,
which include department stores and warehouse clubs, and that number
alone accounted for a quarter of job gains seen economy-wide in
November. Jobs increased by 9,800 at miscellaneous stores; 2,900 at food
and beverage stores and 2,100 in non-store, which includes online. There
were losses of 11,100 jobs at sporting goods and hobby stores and 10,900
at electronics and appliances stores.

Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in November were up 6 cents over
October to $27.35 and up 81 cents from a year ago, a year-over-year
increase of 3.1 percent. The Labor Department said overall unemployment
remained at 3.7 percent, its lowest level since December 1969.

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. NRF.com

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Contacts

J. Craig Shearman (855) NRF-PRESS
PRESS@NRF.com

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