Retail’s three-month moving average as of March showed a decline of 4,400 jobs. March saw month-over-month gains of 2,700 jobs at sporting goods stores, 2,500 at furniture and home furnishing stores and 2,200 at auto parts stores. But those were offset by losses of 7,700 at health and personal care stores, 7,200 at general merchandise stores and 3,000 at clothing and clothing accessory stores.
March saw month-over-month gains of 2,700 jobs at sporting goods stores, 2,500 at furniture and home furnishing stores and 2,200 at auto parts stores. But those were offset by losses of 7,700 at health and personal care stores, 7,200 at general merchandise stores and 3,000 at clothing and clothing accessory stores.
Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in March were up 4 per cent over February to $27.70, a year-over-year increase of 3.2 per cent that builds on a 10 per cent gain seen in February. The labour department said unemployment remained at 3.8 per cent, unchanged from February. The 196,000-job overall gain in March was nearly 10 times the 20,000 job gain originally reported for February, which was revised today to 33,000. “March’s strong rebound in overall hiring throughout the economy is good news after the seesaw employment growth in the past few months,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “It paints a picture of resiliency of the US economy. And all eyes should focus on the wage growth we’ve been seeing since higher wages translate into increased spending. Retail jobs reflect the pulse of the economy, and as the economy picks up retail hiring is likely to do the same. “Consumer confidence and consumer spending were down earlier in the year, so the retail numbers likely reflect merchants’ hesitancy to add to payrolls under those conditions. But it’s important to remember that the economy historically slows down in the first quarter. And there have been record numbers of retail job openings – more openings than retailers can fill – so the tough hiring market is also a factor,” added Kleinhenz. (PC)
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