After the bloodbath that was the 2016 holiday season for major store chains like Macy’s (m, -0.98%) and Target (tgt, -0.43%) among many, it follows that job creation in the retail sector would be underwhelming in the aftermath.

But the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job market report released on Friday showed it was an even bigger disaster than expected, with 30,700 jobs lost. Combined with similar job losses in February, the retail industry had its worse two-month job creation period since the depths of the Great Recession. And retail, which employs nearly 16 million Americans, was one of the very few industries to ditch jobs last month and certainly cut the most jobs by far of any industry.

In January, as the major retailers gave Wall Street their holiday season post mortems, one mass store closing announcement came after the other: J.C. Penney (jcp, -1.83%) was shedding 140 stores; Sears Holdings (shld, -2.29%) shuttering 75, Macy’s (m, -0.98%) paring its fleet by 100 locations. And specialty clothing chains have similarly been trying to get leaner, from The Gap (gps, -0.57%) and Abercrombie & Fitch (anf, -1.07%).

Adding…