Department, discount stores drive retail job losses in weak jobs report

Key Points
  • The U.S. Department of Labor announced the net job changes by industry for December.
  • Retail industry jobs fell by roughly 20,000.
  • Department stores and general merchandisers contributed the most to the job losses, shedding more than 27,000 over the course of the month.
A worker holds a sign announcing a store-closing sale outside the 60-year-old Sears store in Chicago.
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Department stores and general merchandisers led job losses in the retail industry for the month of December.

The U.S. economy created 148,000 jobs in December, missing Wall Street expectations of 190,000.

The retail industry suffered job losses of roughly 20,000. The downward trend in retail jobs is believed to be a result of an ongoing shift to e-commerce sales.

Here are the net changes in the retail industry for the month of December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On the whole, retail posted a net job loss in 2017, shedding nearly 70,000 jobs over 12 months as e-commerce giants such as Amazon hurt traditional brick-and-mortar retailer sales.

Breaking down the job losses in December, department stores and general merchandisers dragged down gains in food and beverage and electronics retailers.

Department stores lost more than 8,000 jobs, while other general merchandisers, including wholesale clubs and dollar stores, shed nearly 20,000, the government said.

Health and personal care stores also posted losses, down 3,900 in December. Clothing and accessories stores lost 3,800 jobs.

On the flip side, food and beverage stores added 6,500 jobs, and electronics and appliances retailers gained 3,800.

Furniture stores and motor vehicle parts dealers also added jobs in the final month of 2017, adding 2,200 and 2,900 jobs respectively.