- Employment at food and beverage stores rose in June by 6,100 positions, to 3.169 million, mostly reversing a decline recorded in May, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Restaurants and bars also added jobs in June, as the sector’s payrolls swelled by 40,800, building on a smaller gain the month before, the government said.
- The rise in the number of positions at grocery stores last month came as job creation across the U.S. economy remained strong and the unemployment rate stayed at 3.6%, where it has been since March.
Grocers managed to expand the number of workers in their stores in June even as employers across the board sought to attract candidates for a growing number of positions. The increase in employment in food and beverage establishments followed a decline of about 7,700 positions in May, according to the BLS.
The economy tacked on 372,000 jobs in June, way ahead of what economists expected, even as surging inflation threatens the economy and raises fears that a recession is on the horizon or may have already arrived. Food-at-home prices rose 11.9% in May on a year-over-year basis and were up 1.4% compared with April, as the overall Consumer Price Index shot up 8.6%, the BLS reported in June.
The Federal Reserve, which has been aggressively raising interest rates this year in an effort to tamp down fast-rising prices — even at the risk of causing an economic contraction — has indicated that it is prepared to take continued strong action as it looks to slow inflation by further increasing borrowing costs.
Grocers led the way among retailers in terms of the number of jobs added in June, with the more than 6,000 jobs the industry brought on during the month outpacing the 5,000 positions building material and garden stores gained. Motor vehicle and parts dealers added 3,700 jobs in June, while payrolls at electronics and appliance stores were up by 3,100.
General merchandise stores, a category that includes warehouse clubs, shed jobs in June, however. The sector counted 2.249 million positions in June, off by 5,200 positions compared with May, the BLS said.
Even as employers continued to create jobs at a brisk overall pace overall in June, people’s confidence in the job market going forward is down sharply, according to survey data from job listing site ZipRecruiter. A mix of concern over inflation, rising interest rates and layoffs by technology companies contributed to a growing sense that the job market may be headed into stormy territory despite its current signs of strength, ZipRecruiter reported.