WASHINGTON—Retailers showed they are still skittish by cutting jobs in May.

 

Specialty stores cut 1,000 jobs to employ 1.39 million last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, while department stores trimmed 1,400 jobs from payrolls to employ 1.48 million. General merchandise stores, which include department stores, eliminated 900 jobs to employ 2.92 million. Nationwide employers added 431,000 jobs, driven almost entirely by the hiring of 411,000 temporary Census workers, the Labor Department said.

 

The report fell short of economists’ expectations. May unemployment dropped to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent in the April report. Manufacturers also showed signs of nervousness. Apparel producers cut 1,500 jobs to employ 163,500. Textile mills, which manufacture apparel fabric, eliminated 500 jobs to employ 123,400. Textile product mills, which make mostly home furnishing and industrial fabrics, added 300 jobs to employ 122,400.

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