Retail industry employment grew by 29,500 jobs in June over May, making up more than 10 percent of the total 287,000-job increase reported today by the Labor Department, according to calculations by the National Retail Federation, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The retail sector serves on the front line of the economy.”
Jack Kleinhenz
NRF Chief Economist

“The retail sector serves on the front line of the economy and showed solid job gains that made a strong contribution to the June employment report,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Today’s employment gains punctuate other employment data and indicate that economic activity picked up in the second quarter, which is certainly a positive step going into the second half of the year.”

While the monthly wage data was somewhat disappointing with an increase of only 2 cents per hour following the 6-cent increase in May, the better-than-expected job gains in June help alleviate some concern about the U.S. economy. Average hourly earnings moved in the right direction on a year-over-year basis with an increase of 2.6 percent.

On a three-month moving average, retail jobs as calculated by NRF have increased by 9,700 positions. Since June 2015, the retail industry has increased payrolls by 241,600 jobs.

June’s increase in jobs came even though the unemployment rate increased from 4.7 percent to 4.9 percent.