Commenting on the January jobs report, National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay, said, “While it is always positive to see an increase in private sector hiring and a decrease in unemployment, it is alarming that employment can’t shift into a higher gear,” Shay said.
“Despite seasonal factors at play in today’s employment report, it remains incumbent on policymakers to lead the nation’s recovery and move beyond partisan disputes over raising the debt ceiling and refocus attention on patent, tax and immigration reform, which will spur economic growth, opportunity and job creation.”
NRF calculated retail employment down 21,600 jobs in January yet up 230,000 jobs year-over-year. December retail employment figures were revised up to a gain of 57,000 jobs.
“Once again the jobs report was disappointing and weather was a major factor,” Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Even though employment gains in the retail sector declined for the month due to severe winter weather and additional seasonal factors, the economy is primed for a rebound. The decreases in retail jobs were mostly localized and focused on specific categories, especially sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report showed that January total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 with the unemployment rate at 6.6 percent and the labor force participation rate at 63.0 percent.
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 $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.