Following a particularly arduous winter, retail employment posted gains in March of 18,200 month-to-month and 229,000 year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
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, finds NRF.
“Merchants are eager to move forward with their spring hiring and operational plans,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “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 percent) of Americans surveyed agreed the U.S. economy should be a top priority for Congress in 2014; 46 percent said job creation/unemployment should be a top priority.
“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,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “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.”
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.