Retail sales down in January 2014

Although the country added more jobs in January, retail sales dropped and more people filed for unemployment and jobless benefits, according to the Commerce Department. Experts believe that the cold winter weather played a part in sales falling across the country. 

Retail sales fell 0.4 percent during January, which is the biggest drop since June 2012, according to Bloomberg. The January decrease is a slight increase from December's revised decline of 0.1 percent. Although the economy has been giving mixed signals the past month about what the future holds, such as job growth and declining sales, Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, said in an interview with Reuters experts should not make any predictions just yet.

"It's still too early to conclude that the soft patch is a more ominous sign of a more meaningful slowdown in the economy," Baird said.

The sectors that showed declines in sales over the past month included auto dealers, sporting goods and apparel stores. John Felice, U.S. sales chief for Ford, said in a conference call the auto industry had strong gains at the beginning of the month but petered out.

"January got off to a pretty slow start with really inclement weather in the heartland of the country, all the way down into Texas," Felice said, according to Bloomberg. "As things improved around the country mid-month, we saw a bounce-back in demand and sales, which was encouraging. Then, sadly, the last week of the month we saw again another arctic blast."

Among other retailers that showed a decline were clothing stores. Spending at this particular industry fell 0.9 percent from December and 1.5 percent at department stores.

Although retail sales across the country fell, some consumers are still buying. Home purchases improved by 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Commerce Department.

Businesses who are in the market for hiring experienced workers can look to manufacturing recruiters to help them with their quest.