Retail hiring drives unemployment rate lower
WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation has issued statements from president and CEO Matthew Shay and chief economist Jack Kleinhenz on the July employment numbers.
NRF pegged retail job gains at 37,000 in July, with increases in general merchandise, food and beverage and building and garden supply stores.
“In spite of continued rancor and uncertainty from policymakers in Washington, the private sector economy continues to add jobs,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While unemployment remains stubbornly high, with millions of Americans jobless or underemployed, retailers are adding to their ranks and payrolls.”
“Contrary to the record increases on Wall Street, employment continues to be a lagging indicator of the recovering economy,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Despite the underwhelming and discouraging job gains in July, NRF expects the economy to pick up in the third and fourth quarters. The employment trend is positive, yet lackluster.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that the economy added 162,000 jobs in July, which lowered the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent.
The NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support 1-in-4 U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s "This is Retail" campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for lifelong careers, how retailers strengthen communities and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.