MODEL RELEASED Closeup of hands exchanging a credit card during a retail sale next to a computer at the front desk of a retail shop.VARIOUS

Unemployment fell to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent last month — and fashion retailers played their part.

Department stores added 7,600 seasonally adjusted jobs to employee 1.2 million, while apparel and accessories specialty stores increased payrolls by 6,500 to 1.4 million, according to the May employment report from the Labor Department.

In a reversal of fortunes that probably says more about month-to-month fluctuations than broader trends, non-store retailers, a category that includes e-commerce sites, shed 1,100 jobs to employ 594,100.

Overall, the economy added 223,000 workers — the strongest gains since February and a solid showing given that experts estimate the economy needs to add 150,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth.

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