Unemployment Drops to Lowest Since 2008, Retail Jobs Help

retail jobsWashington—Some good news today on the unemployment front: the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, bringing down the jobless rate to its lowest since the Great Recession started in September 2008.

The National Retail Federation also said today that retail employment increased 28,000 in April from March and 241,000 year-over-year. (March’s retail employment was revised upward by 2,700 jobs. The increase reflects the growth and positive momentum seen in the retail industry in recent months.)

‘Retailers Lead the Way’

“After a weak report on growth in the overall economy, the strong jobs report shows that the backlash from the weather-induced slowdown between December and March impacted economic activity but was not a foreboding sign of what is to come,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “We expect a rebound in economic activity. While only select sectors such as apparel and general merchandise reported higher results, we expect retailers to be stocked and prepared for one of the busiest times of the year – summer.”

Analysts had expected an April job increase of 220,000 at most due to the beginning of spring. The number of unemployed people dropped by 733,000 to 9.8 million-but 806,000 also quit looking, analysts noted.

“Retailers continue to help lead the way in job creation, there is still room to address the underlying issue that the overall labor force remains underutilized,” NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay said. “A concentration on pro-business initiatives by our leaders in Washington that would give companies the confidence they need to hire more out-of-work Americans would go a long way in this economic recovery.”

 

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