WASHINGTON — Retailers boosted their payrolls across the board in March, as the overall unemployment rate fell slightly, the Labor Department said Friday.


Clothing and accessories stores added 2,100 jobs to employ 1.41 million last month, while department stores boosted payrolls by 4,400 to 1.5 million in March.

General merchandise stores, a category that includes department stores and discounters, added 7,000 jobs to employ 2.99 million.

The overall employment rate fell to 8.8 percent in March from 8.9 percent in February, adding 216,000 jobs.

Further down the supply chain, mills making apparel fabric added 100 jobs to employ 120,800 in March. Payrolls at textile product mills, which make mostly home furnishing and industrial fabrics, fell 100 to 116,200. Apparel employment fell 700 last month to 155,300.

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