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US Retailers Added Jobs in September

American employers added 156,000 nonfarm jobs in September, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.

That figure was slightly higher than the 151,000 nonfarm jobs added in August and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5 percent. While most of September’s job growth was generated by professional services and health care, the retail trade sector also played a crucial role in increasing employment.

Retailers added 22,000 new jobs in September, with a majority coming from apparel and accessories stores (+14,000) and gasoline stations (+8,000). Other retail divisions, including specialty goods, experienced decreases in employment for the month. Building material and garden supply stores axed 4,600 jobs and sporting goods stores experienced a loss of 2,100 jobs. Overall, retail trade employment has grown to 317,000 jobs this year.

Although the retail trade sector reported favorable employment in September, the same couldn’t be said for transportation and warehousing, which cut a total of 9,000 jobs. Manufacturing jobs were also down last month, by a total of 13,000. In addition, textile mills laid off 300 people and apparel factories axed 100 positions.

On the upside, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased to 34.4 hours in September. Retail employers cut their workweek to 30.8 hours, while transportation and warehousing employers slightly increased their workweek to 38.7 hours. Manufacturing employers also increased their workweek to 40.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls also rose to $25.79. Private-sector production and non-supervisory employees’ average hourly earnings also increased to $21.68. In total, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.6% this year.