The number of retail jobs in the U.S. jumped by 11,100 in January over December. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), these numbers reflect the strong holiday season and consumer demand.
Overall, the economy added 200,000 jobs, said the Labor Department. While there's always a loss of jobs after the holidays end, some of the extra staffing has carried over. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., expects spending to continue to be strong throughout 2018.
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In the months prior, jobs dropped by 24,600 in December, following an increase of 23,100 in November. The average over the three holiday months was an increase of 3,200 jobs.
The area of retail with the biggest increase for January was clothing and accessory stores, which added 15,100 jobs. Nonstore retail, which includes online, added 3,500 positions, and building supplies added 3,400 jobs. Retail divisions that lost employees were sporting goods stores, down 6,300, general merchandise, down 6,200, and health and personal products, down 2,900.
In addition, NRF reports that hourly earnings increased 2.9%, 75 cents, in January, the fastest growth since January 2009.