Strong sales gains support positive outlook for retail sector. The availability of employment is drawing new residents to the metro as tech companies including Amazon continue hiring at a vibrant clip. Over the past three years, employers have added nearly 155,000 new jobs, which helped to boost the population by 178,000 people. The widespread hiring and additional higher-paying positions are pushing median household income gains well above that of the U.S., leading to an increase in discretionary spending. As a result, retail sales vaulted 10 percent in the past 12 months, the highest rate of growth in the nation. Positive employment, population and income trends are expected to remain this year, positioning the retail sector favorably in the quarters ahead.