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The retail industry saw employment down 6,700 last month, yet up 205,500 year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) February job report.
The sectors most heavily impacted include electronics and appliance stores, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
“While there are signs of modest momentum in the economy, now is not the time to play partisan politics with the recovery by forcing federal mandates on retailers and small business owners like an increase in the minimum wage,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Such policy decisions could hamper economic growth and actually drive up the unemployment rate.”
Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary showed that February total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 with the unemployment rate at 6.7 percent and the labor force participation rate at 63 percent.
According to Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist, “Retailers continued to rearrange and maximize their payrolls and inventories following the holiday shopping season. This decline should be temporary in nature and viewed as a speed bump," he said.
Washington, D.C.-based 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.