Probably not, despite the rumors accumulated over the past two years, announcing the death of physical stores. But the physical part of the sector certainly does not create as many jobs as before.
In the United States, employment in the retail sector has steadily increased following the Great Recession, reaching a record 15.9 million workers in January 2017 (3.6 million people). more than the entire US manufacturing workforce).
But after that, growth has weakened and then flattened. Today, retail trade employs roughly the same number of people as it did two years ago, while the rest of the economy continues to create about 200,000 jobs a month.
Last year, companies announced 98,563 deletions of retail jobs, the highest number since 2009, according to the companies of reclassification, Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Vice President Andy Challenger thinks the pain is not over.
"There is still a lot of work to be done for the big retailers inherited from the past," said Challenger. "Companies that barely escape bankruptcy during the largest expansion in American history will always be slowing down and they will have a lot of difficulties."
This is largely due to higher online purchases, which accounted for 9.8% of all retail sales in the third quarter of last year, compared to 3.6% a decade earlier. Truck drivers and parcel pickers who deliver your brown boxes are primarily in the transportation and warehousing industry. Although overall smaller, this sector has grown more than 30% since the end of the last recession, compared to only about 9% for the regular retail trade.
The atrophy of employment in retail is even greater than it appears. Retail workers also work less, 30.5 hours per week on average. This amount has been declining since the end of 2017, even though weekly hours in the rest of the economy have remained close to the high water mark.
Another puzzling statistic: there are a ton of jobs available. The opportunity rate for retail workers – which indicates how difficult it is for employers to fill their positions – has exceeded the national average for all sectors for most of the past year and a half.
All this points to an underlying trend: with an unemployment rate approaching the lowest in the last 50 years, workers have better options than monotonous, upright, all-day jobs, catering to unpredictable and unpredictable customers. low wages.
That's why retailers from Walmart to Target have gradually increased their minimum wage and put in place better benefits, offsetting years of stagnant compensation.
But there is another factor at play here: a wave of corporate bankruptcies that private equity funds have caused.
For years, Legacy resellers have been a popular target for leveraged buyouts. Employment in private firms has declined an average of 13% in two years, compared to comparable companies, according to a working paper presented at the American Economics Association conference last month by economists universities in Chicago, Maryland and Michigan. Office.
Payless was bought by private investors in 2012 and is indebted for $ 700 million. Monday, he filed for bankruptcy, announcing that it would close all of its 2,100 stores and lay off 16,000 workers.