WASHINGTON — Retailers continued to hire at a strong pace in August as merchants boosted payrolls for the back-to-school season, while employment in the overall economy grew modestly, the U.S. Labor Department’s monthly employment report showed Friday.

Overall retail employment rose 44,000 in August compared with July as apparel and accessories stores added 13,700 to employ 1.47 million. General merchandise stores, including discounters and department stores, boosted payrolls by 9,400 to employ 3.2 million. Department stores added 2,100 jobs to employ 1.5 million in August.

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