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.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews