Changing eCommerce and technological shifts in the retail space are now impacting payrolls.
According to a new report from the U.S. government, the number of jobs lost in general merchandise stores hit a new low at 34,700 in March, The New York Times reported.
“ECommerce and technology have absolutely changed the rules of the game and given massive amounts of power to the consumer,” Simeon Siegel, retail analyst for Nomura, told the NYT. “There is a self-help mentality now. People walk around with their phones in their [hands] to tell them the best model and the best price. You don’t need as many people walking around trying to convince you to buy a sweater.”
For two months in a row, the Labor Department’s monthly employment summary showed that retail payrolls have suffered substantial losses.
According to Diane Swonk, the chief executive of DS Economics in Chicago, the falloff in hiring within the retail space isn’t because consumer aren’t spending, but rather it’s a reflection of the change in how they spend.
“Retail is one of the largest employers in the country, and it’s going to go through a pretty massive secular restructuring. We shop differently now, and no one has the right model,” Swonk explained.
While the majority of shopping is still done in-store, those shopping patterns are rapidly changing.
“Clearly, it’s just not one or the other, not just bricks or clicks,” she added. However, with all of the change taking place, retailers “are not sure what the endgame is.”