The National Retail Federation (NRF) pegged retail job gains at 37,000 in July, with increases in general merchandise, food and beverage, and building and garden supply stores. “In spite of continued rancor and uncertainty from policymakers in Washington, the private sector economy continues to add jobs,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “While unemployment remains stubbornly high, with millions of Americans jobless or underemployed, retailers are adding to their ranks and payrolls.”
“Contrary to the record increases on Wall Street, employment continues to be a lagging indicator of the recovering economy,” noted NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Despite the underwhelming and discouraging job gains in July, NRF expects the economy to pick up in the third and fourth quarters. The employment trend is positive, yet lackluster.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that the economy added 162,000 jobs in July, which lowered the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support 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.