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Retail jobs up by 11,000 in January

BY Marianne Wilson

Apparel and accessories stores led the industry in hiring in January.

That’s according to the National Retail Federation, which reported a net increase of 11,100 jobs in January over December. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“These numbers reflect the strong holiday season and how retailers matched consumer demand for consumption by hiring additional staff,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “There’s always a loss of jobs after the holidays, but this year at least some of the extra staffing has carried over. We expect spending to continue to be strong this year, and that’s good for retail jobs.”

The largest contribution to retail employment in January came in clothing and clothing accessories stores, which added 15,100 jobs. Non-store retail, which includes online, added 3,500, while building supplies and materials grew by 3,400.

Losses of 6,300 were seen in sporting goods stores, 6,200 in general merchandise and 2,900 in health and personal products stores.

Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department do not provide an accurate picture of the industry because they count only employees who work in stores while excluding retail workers in other parts of the business such as corporate headquarters, distribution centers, call centers and innovation labs. Warehouse jobs, for example, increased by 3,500 in January but are not counted as retail.

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