Should anyone not believe data released by the government is not keeping current with the changes taking place in the economy, the labor market data from last Friday should convince you. The Labor Department reported job growth of 148,000 for December. This was well below consensus forecasts and the average monthly increase in 2017. Within the total, the data reported a decline of 22,000 in the retail sector.

This was for a month when seasonal jobs in retail usually increases. The decline reported was a surprise. Part of this could be explained by the number of store closings over the past year, but not all of it. There is a seasonal adjustment factor applied to this number, so the decline could be a function of fewer seasonal
hires for the fewer stores than would normally be expected…

ProBank Austin Advisor – January 09, 2018