Grocery hiring cools slightly in October

The industry lost about 2,700 jobs, down about 0.1% from the month before, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7%
Grocery worker
Grocery hiring dipped slightly in October. / Photo: Shutterstock

Grocery hiring dipped slightly in October, with the industry losing about 2,700 jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released early Friday.

The food retail industry employed 3,198, 900 workers last month, down about 0.1% from the month before, but it has added more than 10,000 new workers over the last three months and is up more than 80,000 employees for the year.

Employment at general merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and supercenters, meanwhile, grew a small amount in October, up 0.1% over September. That segment now employs 2,259,900 workers and added 3,000 jobs in October, according to the BLS. In the last 12 months, the general merchandise stores have added 72,500 jobs, growing 3.3%.

Overall, hiring in the retail trade sector rose 7.2% in October, with the biggest growth coming from gas stations and clothing stores, according to the BLS.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7%, with a total of 261,000 nonfarm jobs added in October, down sharply from 2022 monthly averages of 407,000 jobs.

The lackluster hiring figures are almost certain to fuel speculation that the nation is slipping into a recession.

BLS noted that hiring in most industry sectors stagnated. The notable exceptions were health care, professional and technical services and manufacturing.

Restaurants and bars added 6,000 jobs in October, less than one tenth of the hires the industry made the month before, the BLS said. Eating and drinking places ended October with 11.8 million employees. That remains about 500,000 workers short of pre-pandemic employment.

Restaurant Business Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo contributed to this report.



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