NRF: High unemployment a concern as holiday season approaches

Washington, D.C. -- The National Retail Federation said Friday that high unemployment rates remain a concern as retailers head into the holiday season.

Following the announcement that U.S. employers added 103,000 jobs in September and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1%, Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said, “While the September jobs numbers were better than expected, there is no doubt the economy is still facing significant headwinds. With the start of the holiday season just three weeks away, the persistently high unemployment rate is expected to hinder consumer demand and impact confidence.”

Retailers will escalate hiring over the next several weeks as they prepare for holiday sales and traffic. The NRF said that retailers are expected to add 480,000-500,000 seasonal positions over the next several months.

“As we look ahead to a holiday season that will send $466 billion into the U.S. economy – a higher number than the estimated $447 billion cost of President Obama’s jobs bill – it is important to remember what a powerhouse the retail industry is,” said Shay.