According to the Department of Labor, the retail sector continues to play a major role in adding jobs to the economy, but most of these jobs are low-wage or part-time positions. U.S. employers added 162,000 in July, and 47,000 of those jobs were in the retail sector.
Although the retail sector has added 352,000 jobs to the economy over the past 12 months, many retail workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with inconsistent hours and few benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the retail industry typically make about $25,000 per year—a far cry from the nation’s average annual pay of $45,790.
Academic studies, including last year’s report by Demos, provide quantitative evidence that retailers, workers and the U.S. economy can benefit if retail companies invest in their workforce. The current shift toward low-wage, part-time jobs is not the answer to our country’s economic problems, and it’s time for leaders in the retail sector to make sure that retail jobs are decent jobs that can support a family.