The US retail industry has gained 196,000 jobs overall for the first three months of this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Quoting figures from the US Labor Department, the NRF said that the overall gain in March was nearly ten times compared to the gain of 20,000 jobs in February, which was revised to 33,000 on 5 April.
The report, which excludes jobs in the restaurant industry, also said that retail employment declined by 11,700 jobs in March, seasonally adjusted from February.
The industry also lost 47,400 jobs unadjusted year-over-year, due to slow growth in employment across all industries, according to the Labor Department.
The March retail employment losses follow a revised loss of 18,500 jobs in February from January. The three-month average of the industry as of March showed a decline of 4,400 jobs.
NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said: “March’s strong rebound in overall hiring throughout the economy is good news after the seesaw employment growth in the past few months.
“It paints a picture of resiliency of the U.S. economy. And all eyes should focus on the wage growth we’ve been seeing since higher wages translate into increased spending. Retail jobs reflect the pulse of the economy and as the economy picks up retail hiring is likely to do the same.”
The report also noted a month-over-month gain of 2,700 jobs at sporting goods stores, 2,500 at furniture and home furnishing stores, and 2,200 at auto parts stores for March this year.
These gains were offset by the loss of 7,700 jobs at health and personal care stores, 7,200 at general merchandise stores, and 3,000 at clothing and clothing accessory stores.