WASHINGTON — The U.S. employment picture deteriorated further in May, with the economy losing 49,000 jobs in the month and the unemployment rate rising to 5.5 percent from 5 percent in April — the largest increase since February 1986 — the Labor Department reported Friday.
Department stores lost 14,900 jobs to employ 1.5 million, continuing a pattern of declining employment numbers. Specialty stores gained 1,300 jobs to employ 1.5 million, after cutting 1,000 positions in April.
The manufacturing sector also lost ground in May. Domestic apparel manufacturers trimmed 2,200 jobs to employ 194,800. Textile producers cut 1,500 jobs in May, driven in part by a loss at textile mills that make apparel fabric of 1,100 jobs to 155,000 positions. Textile product mills, which manufacture home furnishing textiles, cut 400 jobs to 152,100 positions.
"Once again, the employment report delivered a curious mixture," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight. "The headline 'Payroll Jobs Decline of 49,000' was roughly as expected, showing a continuing but gradual deterioration in the labor market. The unemployment rate was a shocker, though."
The unemployment jump is probably an overestimate, Gault noted, and unemployment figures are likely to recover a little in the next couple of months, but not enough to bring the rate down.
The cuts in the retail workforce have been driven by cooler consumer demand, said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research Corp. Over the last six months, retailers have shed 177,000 jobs, he noted. Broadline retailers especially have struggled.
"Most companies are unsurprisingly managing their staff with respect to economics, opting to cut their biggest and most flexible cost: labor," Yamarone said. "To be sure, thisasteep reduction of staff is beginning to show on the floor. Many department stores are looking ragged with unkempt shelves, cluttered aisles, unsightly piles of returned merchandise. Unfortunately, things may only get worse."
Given the trend of industry consolidation and the number of closures of underperforming stores announced in the department store sector in the last few months, May's drop in workers for the sector was not a surprise, said a spokesman for the National Retail Federation.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye