A good chunk of the jobs created in November were in retail — likely to keep up with holiday sales — says the National Retail Federation.
Employment in retail was up by 18,600 jobs in November, seasonally adjusted from October, said the Federation. That means that of 155,000 jobs created in the overall economy last month, nearly one in eight were in retail.
Calling the retail jobs numbers “satisfying,” the federation’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said in a statement that the boost came during and after the wildfires in California and bad weather in other areas of nation, all of which likely dragged on the sector.
The numbers were a good sign, given the context of the overall economic and national picture, he said.
“In retail, the tight labor market has created sizable challenges in hiring – there are actually more retail jobs available than there are people to fill them. Retailers would hire more workers if they could find them,” said Kleinhenz, in a statement.
Still, compared to last year at the same time, unadjusted retail employment dipped by 16,300 jobs, said the group.
And, the Department of Labor, in its job report, noted that “retail trade employment changed little” in November, noting that most of the jobs created were in health care, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.
The total employment numbers across all sectors released Friday by the Labor Department were considered a disappointment by many, as projections were for a bigger boost.
The jobless rate for retail was 4.2 percent; the unemployment rate overall remained unchanged at 3.7 percent.
Of the total positions in retail in November, most were at department stores, warehouse clubs and other general merchandise shops, while the rest were at a variety of merchants and in online sales. Many jobs were lost at sporting goods, hobby, electronics and appliances stores, according to the federation.
The group predicts up to $721 billion in retail sales over this holiday season.