Are US Retail Jobs Under Threat?

If there’s one good thing about 2011 is despite the disasters, a lot of countries are experiencing a recovery in their economy. In the United States, a number of industries, manufacturing and transportation included, started hiring hundreds of people to perform a wide variety of jobs.

But before we go on toasting our champagnes, patting our backs, and letting out a sigh of relief for we’ve survived the crisis, let’s first ask ourselves this question: are all sectors really picking up?

The answer is “Not really”. The truth is, we are getting mixed signals if we are going to talk about retail.

Jobs Are Few and Far Between

There are still plenty of cities and states where retail jobs are few. For example, in Toledo, Ohio, the nonfarm jobs of 2010 were lower than those of year 2000 by almost 600,000. One of the areas that have suffered is retail, where job loss is almost equal to 10,000, though it is second only to trade and transportation jobs, which lost 14,000 jobs.

You may ask, “With the economy going up, shouldn’t there be an increase in consumer sales?” The answer may be very well stated by Wells Fargo’s Mark Vitner. According to him, the local economy is recovering, but in a slow pace. Simply put, he really cannot see consumers storming shopping centers and purchasing goods all the time. A lot are still holding back their money, perhaps to save and to anticipate another recession.

Let’s also not forget that certain essentials, such as fuel, have risen in terms of costs. They tend to eat up a large portion of the average American’s paycheck.

Another reason is the low pay offered by companies and stores to their retail employees. Though these jobs increased the employment rate to around 14 percent, a small salary does not really mean security or stability for any employee. A lot still end up leaving the retail industry to take up a more meaningful type of work. This is also the condition to those who are into food service, temporary services, and health care.

It’s Tough with Apparel Sourcing

For those who are into retail (specifically those who create a variety of apparel), they are in tough competition with workers who are located in other countries, especially in China. A lot of these companies, in an effort to reduce the cost of production, moved some of their factories outside the United States. Retail apparel outsourcing has become more apparent in recent years, and though firms have truly enjoyed great benefits, including a cut in production costs, plenty of Americans are left without a job.

Everything is not in vain, however. Based on the data about U.S. retail sales, the figures have risen during the month of February, as more people are buying electronics, clothes, and cars. Again, they’re spending slower than before, but at least they are purchasing.

You can also help in the boom of the sector. One, prioritize those that have been manufactured in the country. You may also want to reduce your online shopping spree and go out in shopping malls with friends and family. After all, you definitely need to get out of your desks sometimes.

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One Response to Are US Retail Jobs Under Threat?

  1. Steve says:

    It doesn’t look like US retail jobs are under threat now. I would say, on contrary, retail market is picking up pretty well.


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