Retail Snapshot

12 Aug 22

Retail Job Gains Resilient Despite Warnings of Excess Inventories

Employment Trends in Retail

Retail Trade, the BLS category, gained 44,000 jobs in August, the third consecutive month of gains. Higher inventories have yet to suppress robust hiring. Compared to pre-COVID recession (February 2020) levels, retail jobs as a whole have grown 1.7%. That said, the BLS recently issued benchmark revisions for March 2022 that showed a large 2.1% decline in its estimate of retail employment – so there were over 300,000 fewer retail jobs that month that previously reported. This is a warning sign that current retail payroll figures may be overestimated. 

Within the retail category, food and beverage have added 12,000 jobs on average over the last three months. Over the same period, general merchandise stores (“general stores”) have added about 8,000; health and personal care stores just over 4,000. Meanwhile, furniture and home furnishing stores have shed jobs at a rate of over 1,000 per month.

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