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NRF: Retail employment grows in March amid ‘overall economic growth’ Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Friday, 04 April 2014 04:26 PM America/New_York

MatthewShay-NRF-WebThe economy is growing, but Washington needs to make job creation a priority, according to statements issued by National Retail Federation (NRF) officials today in response to the March jobs report. Unemployment continues at 6.7% while total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 jobs last month, short of analysts’ expectations.

“After a long, harsh winter that put many retailers at a disadvantage in terms of inventory control and staffing their stores, merchants are eager to move forward with their spring hiring and operational plans,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though we can report relatively positive figures for March, there’s still noticeable slack in the labor market. In order to see momentum in economic growth through 2014, it’s imperative our leaders in Washington put job creation and the economy back at the top of their agenda, giving businesses the confidence they need to grow and invest.”

In a recent consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than half (51.9%) of Americans surveyed said the U.S. economy should be a top priority for Congress in 2014. Nearly as many (46%) said job creation/unemployment should be a top priority.

NRF calculated that month-to-month retail employment increased 18,200 in March and 229,000 year-over-year. The increase is consistent with recent positive economic indicator reports and bodes well for income and consumer confidence as the industry enters into the busy spring selling season, according to the retail trade association.

“We’re encouraged by the progression seen in March related to hiring and other indicators that point to overall economic growth,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “First-quarter results have been less than stellar thus far, thanks to a variety of factors, including unusually bad weather in almost every part of the country. As the year progresses, I expect the job market to strengthen, which will put consumers in a position to feel even more confident about spending, bolstering the sub-par economic recovery.”