(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Retail industry employment in October remained essentially unchanged from September, dropping only 900 jobs despite the loss of 8,800 jobs year-over-year in the face of two major hurricanes since Labor Day, the National Retail Federation said last week. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, U.S. businesses added 250,000 jobs in October - more than double September’s monthly gain - and hourly wages saw their strongest growth in nearly a decade, the Labor Department said.
“Today’s strong jobs report for the economy overall will certainly underscore consumer attitudes and should especially reinforce the spending outlook for the holidays,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Employment gains across the country are likely to remain strong with unemployment dipping even further. The dual effects of increased jobs and higher wages set in motion households’ ability and presumed willingness to spend.”
October’s retail job numbers followed a revised loss of 34,900 jobs in September from August attributed largely to the impact of Hurricane Florence. The three-month moving average as of October showed a decline of 10,000 jobs, skewed by both Florence and Hurricane Michael.
Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in October were up 5 cents over September to $27.30 and up 83 cents from a year ago, a year-over-year increase of 3.1 percent and the first time since April 2009 that growth has topped 3 percent. The Labor Department said unemployment remained at 3.7 percent, its lowest level since December 1969.
For more information about The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, visit www.NRF.com.