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Specialty Clothing Stores Post Employment Gains, Department Store Jobs Decline

Business at specialty clothing and clothing accessories stores is booming and the success has fueled job growth in the sector.

According to data released by Department of Labor Friday, employment at apparel specialty stores in August increased 5.3% from July (5,300 new jobs) to reach 1.4 million. For department stores, on the other hand, things were less positive with the sector cutting 6,800 jobs, bringing its total employed to 1.32 million in the month.

Jobs at general merchandise stores overall, which includes department stores and discounters with multiple lines of product in one location, were down 0.6% (600 jobs) to 3.18 million in the month.

Nonstore retailers, which includes e-commerce, mail-order companies and direct sellers, added 2,000 jobs, employing a total of 542,000 workers.

On the manufacturing side, employment in textile mills producing fabrics and yarns was down 700 jobs to 117,700, while jobs at mills making home goods products were down 500 jobs to 114,700. Apparel manufacturers cut 200 in the period to fill 137,200 positions.

The U.S. economy has shown signs of strengthening in recent months, with 173,000 jobs added in August, the unemployment rate falling to 5.1% and the trade deficit reaching its lowest in five months.