The National Retail Federation estimated last week that the retail industry added over 15,000 jobs in September, a 2.4 percent year-over-year increase.
“It’s clear that retailers’ concerns surrounding the softening economy impacted their decisions to take on more hires, but overall, retail continues to play an integral role in the growth of our labor market,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy added 148,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate remained little changed at 7.2 percent. Since June, unemployment has fallen by 522,000—or 0.4 percent.
The BLS data showed that building and garden supply retailers, as well as automobile dealers, added 5,000 jobs and 4,000 jobs, respectively.
“The pace of growth in retail hires has slowed, similar to what the rest of the labor market is experiencing,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Americans need to believe we are on a solid path out of this troubled economy and so far, they haven’t been given any reason to believe that, thus impacting their spending decisions and retailers’ ability to increase their payrolls.”
Shay said retailers looking to hire seasonal workers “need to first see evidence that our policy leaders will take a more constructive approach” to negotiations over the country’s fiscal future, or retailers may see a continuous decline in consumer confidence.