WASHINGTON — Apparel specialty retailers and department stores trimmed payrolls in December despite a gain in employment in the overall economy at a time of fiscal uncertainty, a Labor Department report showed Friday.
Economists said the tense fiscal cliff negotiation in Washington had some impact on business confidence and as a result led to weaker hiring, particularly among smaller businesses in the month. Although Congress and the White House struck a New Year’s Eve deal on taxes that averted a financial crisis, the two sides will have to negotiate a new compromise by the end of March on automatic spending cuts to federal budgets and also confront the debt ceiling, which could further dampen business and consumer confidence, according to economists.
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