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 slashed 6,900 positions to employ 1.512 million.
The national unemployment rate jumped to 6.1 percent from 5.7 percent in July, the Labor Department reported Friday.
“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, observers 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 mills employed 147,700.
Apparel manufacturers added 200 jobs to employ a total of 195,800 workers in August.
“I’m not convinced that we’re in a recession, but I am pretty sure we are in a labor market recession,” said Richard Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research Corp.
The August results mark the eighth consecutive month of job declines, he said. None of the declines were of a huge magnitude, Yamarone said, but overall, the economy has shed more than 600,000 jobs since January.
“That’s over a half-a-million people looking for jobs that cannot spend money,” he said. “That hurts the consumer sector and certainly dampens consumer attitudes. Obviously, it’s not a good thing.”
It is important to keep in mind that employment figures are a lagging number, Yamarone said, meaning that they are the last to respond to either positive or negative turns in the economy. There have been some positive indicators reported in the last month, including a gross domestic product growth improvement to 3.3 percent for the second quarter.
Economists are split over where the economy will go from here. Global Insight’s Gault said the GDP growth was “just a head-fake” in light of the employment results. Yamarone said it is still possible that the economy has slightly improved, but employment figures don’t yet reflect that.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)