Monday, October 22, 2007

Retail Trade Employment

Retail Salespersons
As in the past, employment opportunities for retail salespersons are expected to be good because of the need to replace the large number of workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force each year. In addition, many new jobs will be created for retail salespersons as businesses seek to expand operations and enhance customer service. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through the year 2014, reflecting rising retail sales stemming from a growing population.

That's certainly some good news. I sure hope the "as in the past" model continues to work.

The shaded areas represent economic contractions.

What's going on? Why is it peaking like that and seemingly heading down into the abyss? It is starting to look like what happened to farming and manufacturing jobs when technology and outsourcing appeared.

nonstore retail sales growth explains some of that.

That's an inflation-adjusted 5.2% annual growth (0.423% per month) per person. It is starting to get quite the appetite.
$10.7 billion sales (2006)
13,900 employees
$770,000 in sales per employee

It might be a productivity miracle, but it isn't an employment miracle. Further, I wouldn't want to be a brick and mortar forced to compete with it (and those like it) right now. It is sneaking up on the brick and mortars just like globalization snuck up on Detroit, not that I'd pay
125 times earnings for any retailer heading into a possible consumer recession, but hey, maybe that's just me. As a side note, just how are Detroit's consumers holding up these days?

Sears' riches may be lay in the ground-Barron's
Bill Ackman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square recently bought 5 million shares, has calculated that the Sears' U.S. retail real estate at just $8.5 billion of its total $20 billion enterprise value, Barron's said.

Better extract that value soon. The clock's ticking. Real estate is in a slump and the Internet continues to grow exponentially, just like clockwork.

See Also:
Jobs of the Future, Part 1
Jobs of the Future, Part 2
Automation and Inequality

Source Data:
U.S. Census Bureau: Nonstore Retailers
St. Louis Fed: Employment Situation
St. Louis Fed: Population Data
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


  1. Another great post. Thanks Mark.

  2. Dan,

    It certainly makes one wonder what most people will be doing for work if we keep outsourcing/automating the jobs.

  3. It certainly makes one wonder what most people will be doing for work


    Wealth is a roof overhead, food on the table, and a happy, healthy family.

    Most of the rat-race today is in pursuit in paying off mortgage debt or rent to the landlord who is either paying off mortgage debt or living parasitically off of someone else's labor.

    Some day, certainly not in my lifetime alas, people will rediscover that what Henry George description of the problem, if not prescription of the cure, was right-on.

  4. Heywood Mogroot,

    Some day, certainly not in my lifetime alas, people will rediscover that what Henry George description of the problem, if not prescription of the cure, was right-on.

    Thank you for inspiring me to read about Henry George.

    Look over the world today. In countries the most widely differing - under conditions the most diverse as to government, as to industries, as to tariffs, as to currency - you will find distress among the working-classes; but everywhere that you thus find distress and destitution in the midst of wealth you will find that the land is monopolized; that, for its use by labour, large revenues are extorted from the earnings of labour.

    Social distress is largely attributed to the immense burdens that existing governments impose - the great debts, the military and naval establishments, the extravagance that is characteristic of republican as well as of monarchical rulers, and especially characteristic of the administration of great cities. Now there seems to be an evident connection between the immense sums thus taken from the people and the privations of the lower classes, and it is upon a superficial view natural to suppose that a reduction in the enormous burdens thus uselessly imposed would make it easier for the poorest to get a living.

    But whoever has grasped the laws of the distribution of wealth, as in previous chapters they have been traced out, will see the mistake in this notion. For as soon as land acquires a value, wages, as we have seen, do not depend upon the real earnings or product of labour, but upon what is left to labour after rent is taken out; and when land is all monopolized, rent must drive wages down to the point at which the poorest paid class will be just able to live.

    Needless to say I'm reading the following like it was written yesterday.