Hiring picked up in six US states last month
Hiring picked up in six US states last month, fell in three and was mostly unchanged in 41 states in August. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in eight states, dropped in one, and was also mostly the same in 41 states. The figures reflect the steady job gains nationwide that have fueled the eight-year long economic recovery from the Great Recession. US employers added 156,000 jobs overall last month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent, still near a 16-year low.
The government said the data was collected before Hurricane Harvey plowed through Texas and Louisiana in the final week of the month and didn’t affect the figures. The unemployment rate fell to 3.3 percent in Tennessee, the lowest on records in that state dating back to 1976. North Dakota and Colorado reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, at 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
Several states reported strong job growth in August compared with July. Georgia added 19,800 jobs, followed by Maryland with 14,200 and Massachusetts with 10,800. Kentucky, New Mexico and New Hampshire also reported big gains. New Mexico saw the largest percentage increase, followed by New Hampshire and Maryland. Oregon, Arkansas and Maine reported large job losses in August from the previous month.
Nineteen states now have unemployment rates below the US figure of 4.4 percent, including Arkansas, at 3.5 percent; Hawaii, at 2.6 percent; Idaho, at 2.9 percent, and Iowa, at 3.3 percent.
Meanwhile, Macy’s is increasing the number of temporary workers it’s hiring for distribution and warehouses for the holiday season as it chases fast growing e-commerce sales. But overall holiday hiring will fall nearly 4 percent.
Macy’s says it will be hiring 18,000 workers to fulfill online orders and other tasks at warehouses devoted to e-commerce operations. That’s an increase of 3,000 from a year ago. Overall, Macy’s temporary hiring is expected at 80,000, down from 83,000 a year ago. The overall decline contrasts with rival Target Corp., which announced earlier this week that it was hiring 100,000 people to work at its stores, an increase of 40 percent from a year ago. The retailer also plans to hire 4,500 workers to help pack and ship online orders at its warehouses.
Many other major retailers including Amazon, JC Penney and Kohl’s have not made their holiday plans public yet. It provide hints to a store’s expectations for the holiday season, which accounts for 20 percent of all retail sales during the year, according to the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group. Like all department stores, Macy’s has wrestled with weak sales as customers go online and also increasingly spend money on things other than clothing. It’s facing competition there as well however, as Amazon, digs deeper into fashion. —AP
HIALEAH: In this file photo, people walk out of a Macy’s department store in Hialeah, Florida. Macy’s is increasing the number of temporary workers it’s hiring for distribution and warehouses for the holiday season as it chases fast growing e-commerce sales. — AP