Arlington, Va. A report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor indicated that the nation saw a dramatic dip in private-sector job growth in May, raising concerns that a robust recovery may still be far off, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
"This is unwelcome news for industries, like retail, that rely heavily on the mood of the American consumer,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy. “Job instability is the single-largest impediment to consumer confidence, and without robust job growth, consumers will remain skittish about opening their wallets."
According to the report, the U.S. economy added 431,000 jobs in May. Of those, 411,000 are temporary government workers hired to complete the 2010 census. Only 41,000 private-sector jobs were added last month, driven in large part by gains in the manufacturing industry.
The retail industry shed 6,600 jobs in May with the largest declines (4,000) reported among building material and garden supply stores. Health- and personal- care stores added 2,700 jobs last month. An upward adjustment to retail job figures from the previous month showed that the retail industry added nearly 20,000 in April, up from the 12,400 jobs initially reported.
"Significant barriers continue to hold back robust retail sales growth, which is essential for the retail industry to create its own new jobs and add to the overall recovery of the economy," Kennedy added.