Retailers Boosted Jobs in September

Retailers are still shedding jobs while the rest of the economy continues to grow.

Apparel and accessories specialty stores in the U.S. cut another seasonally adjusted 200 jobs in May, after shedding 600 in April, still leaving about 1.35 million jobs in the sector, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As for general merchandise stores, they caused the bulk of losses with 6,200 job cuts, 3,700 of which came from department stores alone.

Retail sales have fared little better, with a slight boost in April sales to $21.39 billion, not enough to offset a sluggish first quarter.

Retailers like Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears are all set to shutter hundreds of stores, while specialty mall retailers like Rue 21 and BCBG have moved into bankruptcy while closing hundreds of stores of their own.

Other retailers too, are facing a need to cut costs as more shoppers are looking online and spending in different ways. Guess, Bebe, Abercrombie & Fitch are all set to close scores of stores this year. Even Wall Street favorites Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Ralph Lauren are shrinking their store footprints.

The retail sector as a whole shrunk by 6,100 jobs during May, with losses in certain sectors offset by some gains in auto-related retail and online retail.

Total retail employment now sits at 15.83 million.

Overall, the economy gained 138,000 non-farm jobs during the month, continuing a months-long growth streak and setting unemployment at a 16-year low. Jobs were added mostly in health care, mining support services and business services.

The average monthly gain in jobs over the last year is 181,000.

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