Saturday, May 5, 2012

Non-Store Retail Sales Employees

The following chart shows nonstore retail employees as a fraction of overall civilian employment.

Click to enlarge.


In upscale establishments, a concierge is often expected to "achieve the impossible", dealing with any request a guest may have, no matter how strange, relying on an extensive list of contacts with local merchants and service providers.

"Hello. I am your personal 24-hour fully-automated e-commerce retail sales concierge. How may I be of assistance? I'm sorry. I cannot create retail sales jobs. I can make you an amazing deal on an electronic book reader made in China though."

August 17, 2011
Forbes: Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA

The U.S. has lost or is on the verge of losing its ability to develop and manufacture a slew of high-tech products. Amazon’s Kindle 2 couldn’t be made in the U.S., even if Amazon wanted to:

See Also:
Retail Sales Employee Bubble (Musical Tribute)

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Troy said...

Being out of the country 1992-2000 was advantageous to me, since the difference between the old 1980s regime and the new made-in-China boom hit me hard when I came back in 2000 -- big box stores everywhere, full of Chinese-made stuff.

If this trade didn't come with a deficit it wouldn't necessarily be bad. That it does means the trade isn't really completed yet, as I've commented before.

Getting past time to start tariffing trade with China, Japan, Mexico, and Germany.

Failing that, competitive devaluation looks to be the only way out. But our fragile economy, dependent on oil, can't really take more stress in that area.

I had an earlier comment that I didn't finish, saying something about how a de-consumerizing economy will devolve into a musical-chairs race to the provision of life necessities -- food, shelter, plumbing, health care, entertainment -- that still have pricing power.

Cheap stuff (like sodas and sundries) has more pricing power than expensive stuff.

What the PTB need to figure out is how to retain money velocity in our paycheck economy -- to patch the leaks in it as money bleeds overseas with the trade deficit, and is siphoned from the workers via economic rent mechanisms.

The nordic economies take a very blunt tool to this -- very progressive taxation coupled with weak currencies and high import duties. If you're netting big money, they assume you're taking rents I guess.

nanute said...

If they keep it up, they won't be able to sell a Kindle here.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Failing that, competitive devaluation looks to be the only way out. But our fragile economy, dependent on oil, can't really take more stress in that area.

The average man can't be a winner if everyone plays the game. Sigh.

You can't be a winner if you don't play the game. - Average Man, Bachman Turner Overdrive

Stagflationary Mark said...


They just need to lower the prices and make it up on volume.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in September that the company's goal was to make a small profit from the hardware but that as a retail company, Amazon was willing to live with a smaller margin than most electronics companies would.