Monday, April 10, 2017

Retail Unravels Further

Here's a sobering follow-up to Friday's disappointing employment report: More jobs were lost in the beleaguered retail industry than any other sector over the past two months. Some economists are starting to wonder if the number of jobs available at brick-and-mortar stores may have peaked.

The U.S. retail industry shed 29,700 jobs in March and 31,000 in February, according to the Labor Department. The combined two-month decline was the largest since 2009, and comes after the number of workers in the retail industry peaked near 16 million in January.

Some 2,880 store closings have been announced so far in 2017, compared to 1,153 over the same stretch last year, according to Credit Suisse. The current pace of store closures puts the industry on track to top 8,600 this year, far exceeding the peak of 6,163 hit in 2008, at the onset of the financial crisis.

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