The Fashion Industry Is Losing Jobs Despite Record Low Unemployment Rates

The U.S. Department of Labor today released a better-than-expected jobs report for April 2017 — with little help from the fashion industry.

The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April — a significant uptick from the 79,000 jobs added in March — as the unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities and mining, but clothing, footwear and accessories sellers gave up hundreds of jobs during the month. (The labor department today revised down its initial estimates for employment gains in March, from 98,000 to 79,000.)

Specifically, clothing and accessories stores shed 600 jobs in April, bringing the total number of people employed in the sector to 1.3 million. Similarly, department stores lost about 600 jobs during period, leaving total employment at 1.3 million. Meanwhile, leisure and hospitality added 55,000 jobs in April, and healthcare and social assistance added 37,000 gigs.

Nevertheless, where retail is concerned, employment fared better in April compared with March. The Labor Department said last month that the retail industry lost 29,700 jobs in March, on top of the 30,900 jobs it lost in February. In April, the industry added 6,300 jobs, the Labor Department said today.

Clothing and clothing-accessories stores got rid of 5,800 jobs in March, significantly more than the 600 jobs shed in April. The sporting goods and hobbies category — which lost The Sports Authority, Sport Chalet and City Sports over the last few months — ditched 1,900 gigs in March, leaving 600,800 jobs remaining. In April, the category added 1,000 jobs, with total employment landing at 604,700.

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