Retail jobs jump nearly 13,000 in November

Freeman Staff

Dec. 13, 2017

MILWAUKEE — Retail industry employment increased by nearly 13,000 jobs in November over October, according to the National Retail Federation.

The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, the economy added 228,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.

The NRF said in its news release the increase is “unusually high.”

“This was one of the strongest gains we’ve seen all year,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in the release. “You expect employment to be up during the holiday season and retailers are expecting strong holiday sales with related job growth, but overall growth in the economy has to be recognized here as well. We’re also seeing new jobs in other sectors of the economy, particularly industrial, and that means more demand for retail goods and a need for more retail workers.”

With the numbers from November now in, retailers’ annual hiring of temporary holiday workers is on track to reach the high end of NRF’s forecast of between 500,000 and 550,000 positions. NRF predicts this year’s holiday sales will grow between 3.6 and 4 percent.

Employment increased in most retail sectors in November, but there were decreases in electronics and appliances stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, and non-store sales, which include online sales.

Kleinhenz said 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 and storage employment, for example, was up 8,100 jobs in November, but the positions do not count as retail jobs even if the workers are employed by retailers.