By  on September 5, 2008

WASHINGTON — The U.S. retail employment picture was mixed in August, with specialty apparel stores adding 3,600 jobs to employ 1.499 million, while department stores cut 6,900 positions to employ 1.512 million, the Labor Department reported today.

The national unemployment rated jumped to 6.1 percent from 5.7 percent to 6.1 percent in August.

“The shocker in the report was the jump in the unemployment rate,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for Global Insight.

Overall, the economy shed 84,000 jobs, more than expected for the month, sources said. According to the Labor Department, 60,000 jobs were cut in July and 100,000 jobs were lost in June. Both figures were revised downward from initial reports.

Domestic textile producers broke even, as textile mills, which produce mainly apparel fabric, added 700 jobs and textile product mills, which produce home furnishing fabric, cut 700 positions. Textile mills employed 150,200 workers and textile product mill employed 147,700.

Apparel manufacturers added 200 jobs to employ a total of 195,800 workers in August.

For more, see Monday's WWD.

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