Retail jobs up in July

The latest jobs report underscores the tight job market within the retail industry.

Retail industry employment in July increased by 66,000 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year showing on-going industry growth, the National Retail Federation said today. Retail industry unemployment dipped from 4.5% to 4.4%. (The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

Overall, U.S. businesses added 157,000 jobs over June, the Labor Department said. Economists had expected a gain of about 190,000.

“While today’s jobs release may appear disappointing after a string of monthly gains, the economy remains fundamentally strong,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “In the past, summer months tend to show large employment fluctuations due to the timing of seasonal hiring. However, consumer and business optimism remain elevated and paints a positive picture as we head into the third quarter.”

July saw monthly gains in general merchandise stores, which were up by 14,000 jobs, clothing and accessories stores up 10,000 jobs, and food and beverage stores up 8,000 jobs. Offsetting the gains, employment decreased by 32,000 jobs in sporting, hobby, book, and music stores.

July’s increase of 3,100 jobs was followed by revisions in June with a loss of 23,600 and an upwardly revised increase in May of 28,000, seasonally adjusted. The three-month moving average in July showed an increase of 2,500 jobs.