The retail industry had some good news on the job front in April.
Retail industry employment increased by 2,500 jobs in April from March, the National Retail Federation said Friday. (The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.) The NRF report, which does not detail job cuts, comes the day after a report from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas that said retail industry experienced 11,669 job cuts in April, the highest total among all industries.
“This rebound in April employment mitigates the weakness in recent months,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “It’s important to remember that job growth and other key economic indicators for any single month or short period can be highly variable. A month or two up or down might be the opposite of the months before or after. It’s long-term trends that tell us the most.”
Average hourly earnings remained strong, up a solid 2.5% higher than the same time a year ago. On a three-month moving average on a seasonally adjusted basis, retail employment shows a decline of 20,600 jobs.
“We will be watching the mid-month retail sales numbers to understand how recent employment shifts relate to consumer spending,” Kleinhenz said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the retail industry currently has over 541,000 job openings, more than twice as many as it did during the recession.
The overall economy gained 211,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said. April unemployment fell to 4.4%, down slightly from 4.5% in March.