WASHINGTON -- Strong job gains at food stores helped plump up payrolls among retailers in July, according to the latest figures from the Labor Department.
According to the seasonally adjusted numbers, food stores added 16,000 jobs in July to lift their overall payrolls to 3.554 million, compared to 3.538 million in June. A year ago, food stores employed 3.5 million.
General merchandise stores also added employees in July, increasing their total payroll to 2.796 million from 2.788 million in June. A year ago, general merchandisers employed 2.713 million.
Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate in July repeated June's 4.5 percent figure, which itself was a slight increase over May and April's rate of 4.3 precent.