The job market roared back to life in June, with the U.S. economy adding 224,000 positions, according to the Census Bureau. Economists on average projected a gain of just 160,000.
Job growth, which totaled just 72,000 positions last month, hasn’t been as strong since January, when the U.S. added 312,000 positions. (Economists estimate that the economy needs to add about 150,000 a month to keep up with population growth).
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to a still extremely low 3.7 percent.
Those broader trends are positive for retailers, since consumer spending ultimately ties back to jobs, but stores themselves are cutting back on payrolls.
Apparel and accessories stores shed 5,500 jobs to employ 1.3 million while department stores gave up 3,400 positions to employ 1.1 million.
Despite strong economic fundamentals, retailers are being hurt by the strong U.S. dollar, which is keeping tourists away, and continuing competition with online players, especially Amazon.