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Retail Added 30,000-Plus Jobs in January

Industry’s uptick part of unexpectedly large surge in overall employment.

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The latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  showed the nation’s labor market remains on solid footing, with a whopping 517,000 jobs added in January 2023 – including 30,100 new jobs in retail, The Conference Board reports.

“Labor shortages are still severe and layoffs across the US labor market continue to be low,” notes Frank Steemers, The Conference Board’s Senior Economist. “Voluntary quits and job openings are elevated and—after declining from their highest point a year ago—have not changed much since last summer. Wage growth is also still strong (4.4 percent growth over the past year) and, although it has come down from its peak in early 2022 (5.9 percent growth), wages continue to be growing at well above their pre-pandemic rate (2-3 percent growth).”

Taken as a whole, the latest data underscore that the labor market is still very strong. “This jobs report supports our expectation that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates two more times by 25 basis points each over the coming months,” Steemers said.

Like previous months, the strongest job gains were made in health care and social assistance (79,200), leisure and hospitality (128,000), and personal and repair services (18,000). These industries have been responsible for almost 60 percent of total job gains over the last three months. Other notable increases were reported in professional and business services (82,000), government (74,000), manufacturing (19,000), construction (25,000), retail trade (30,100), and transportation and warehousing (22,900).

Another hopeful sign: Temporary help services—a leading indicator for hiring—gained 25,900 jobs in January. In November and December this industry shed jobs, but that reversed in the most recent report.

Click here for more information on the jobs situation in January.

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