Cristina Benton comments on December 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Report

According to the latest employment report data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate stayed unchanged from the previous month at 4.1%. The U.S. economy continued its steady payroll growth in November, which marks the 86th consecutive month employers added to the payroll, and reflects employment gains in the professional and business services, construction, manufacturing, retail, and health care sectors. 

This hiring trend is taking place amidst one of the longest periods of economic growth, driven by a strong U.S. economy in its nine-year expansion. Consumer confidence continues to increase, while consumer spending has been strong this year. Sales of new and existing homes continue an upward trend reflecting a strong demand but a shortage of inventory and rising prices may put a damper on the housing market.

The month-over-month gains in retail in November were driven by the hiring boom this holiday season. Retailers of all types, not just brick-and-mortar stores but also online merchants, have been hiring more seasonal workers this holiday as they have expected a busy shopping season and strong spending. Some of the retailers with the largest number of seasonal hiring this holiday include Amazon, big box retailers, such as Target and Best Buy, toy stores, such as Toys “R” Us, department stores (Macy’s), and home improvements stores, such as Lowe’s.