New York City -- A jobs report on Friday that showed a slowing hiring market sent retail shares tumbling. According to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added just 54,000 new workers in May, the fewest in eight months. With unemployment at 9.1%, those retailers most closely tied to the job market, including Staples and Office Depot, saw the most negative impact.
The jobs added in May were far lower than the previous three months' average of 220,000 new jobs per month. Private companies hired only 83,000 new workers in May -- the fewest in nearly a year.
Many analysts suggest the economy will improve later this year, particularly if gas prices continue to decline. But Friday's report underscores that the recovery will likely remain weak and unemployment – currently at 9.1% -- will be a problem for the foreseeable future.