Ingo Winzer, President
Local Market Monitor
If the number of jobs in retail, instead of increasing 2 percent a year, will slowly erode from now on, is this a bad thing for the economy? Retail sales seem to be doing fine, its just taking fewer people to produce those results.
From an economic perspective, any efficiency is a good thing. But looking at the larger picture, the 300,000 jobs with annual pay of $30,000 that AREN'T being created every year are a blow to families for whom this is often a second income. Aside from restaurants and hotels, retail is the lowest-paying sector in the economy and the last possibility for people with no special skills. The $9 billion of retail salaries saved each year will go into somebody's pocket, but the social consequences of yet another disappearing opportunity near the bottom of the ladder may end up being a lot greater than that.
Overall, the number of jobs in July was up 1.5 percent from last year, in line with results so far this year. Jobs were flat in manufacturing, retail and government - which together make up a third of all jobs - up 2 percent in finance, 3 percent in business services, 2 percent in healthcare, and 3 percent at restaurants. In the construction sector jobs were up 3 percent, which seems like a lot but, starting from such a low level, it's nothing to write home about.