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Retailers hire fewer seasonal workers than expected

The National Retail Federation reports retailers’ hiring actions may bode well for the holiday shopping season, though the employment numbers missed previous forecasts.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said, “The nation’s retailers continued to add to their payrolls in December even in the midst of the condensed holiday shopping season. Retailers and merchants, especially those operating clothing and general merchandise stores, increased hiring, which may indicate a solid holiday sales season.”

The NRF calculated retail industry job gains at 49,200 over November and 328,600 year-over-year.

“While the employment gains were much lower than anticipated, gains were made and the economy seems primed for growth,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The shortened holiday calendar and severe weather in many parts of the country certainly impacted these figures, but I suspect we will see upward revisions in the coming months.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report showed that December total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 74,000, with the unemployment rate at 6.7 percent and the labor force participation rate at 62.8 percent.

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