NRF: More jobs translates into greater retail success
In President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, he spoke in-depth about the importance of jobs to the revival of the national economy. While more than 3 million positions have been created in the past 22 months, the country is still down a total of 5 million. Obama hopes to enact new legislation that will restore those lost jobs.
As the National Retail Federation notes, this goal is crucial to the continued growth of the retail sector. Merchants are largely dependent on a health base of shoppers, and more unemployed Americans means fewer people are able to spend money in stores. While the retail sector has contributed a great deal to the 3 million jobs created, other sectors need to pull their weight as well.
"Job creation is our nation's No. 1 priority, and as the industry that supports one out of every four U.S. jobs, retailers stand ready to do their part in putting Americans back to work," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Retailers are helping to rebuild the economy, but Washington must get moving to encourage job growth and remove barriers to job creation."
President Obama spoke specifically about different legislation designed to improve hiring in troubled induestries such as construction. However, Shay asserts the president should also aid other service sectors – such as retail – and make it easier for them to take on new help as well.
Earlier this month, Shay and Terry Lundgren, the president of Macy's, sent a letter to Obama that outlined some of the approaches that could be used to reduce the red tape that surrounds the retail sector. Some key issues included sales tax fairness legislation, corporate tax reform and free and open trade initiatives.
"The letter also asked Obama to address neglected transportation infrastructure, credit card swipe fees, and healthcare reform mandates. It also asked for quicker visa processing to make it easier for foreign visitors to come to the United States to shop," the NRF statement notes.
In November, the retail sector was cited as a driving force in bringing the unemployment rate to a two-year low as merchants brought on help for the holidays.
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