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Jobs Report Shows Losses in Retail Sector

Despite overall increase in non-farm payroll, three major store types decline

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Employment in the U.S. retail trade declined by 30,000 jobs in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The monthly report showed job losses in general merchandise stores (-32,000), electronics and appliance stores (-4,000) and furniture and home furnishings stores (-3,000). Those declines were partially offset by a job gain in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+10,000).

Overall, total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the bureau said. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and government.

The report’s results were greeted with surprise in many quarters. A typical reaction: the bureau’s numbers “reflect an incredibly resilient labor market,” The Washington Post said.

“The job market continues to chug along despite various headwinds,” Daniel Zhao, lead economist at Glassdoor, told the newspaper. “We are getting some mixed signals from the report — that isn’t a surprise at a time when the economy is at a turning point — but stepping back, this still points to a job market that is more resilient than we expected.”

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