Half of All US Retail Jobs in Jeopardy

Despite our president’s excitement over the opening of a single coal mine, according to a recent story at Racked, there’s still a giant job crisis looming on the horizon.

On Sunday, children’s clothing brand, Gymboree, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. To “get back on track,” the company plans to close up to 450 of their 1,281 stores, which means that another 11,000 jobs in an already-embattled industry are at risk.

That news came just days after Hudson Bay — owners of Saks Fifth Avenue, among other properties — laid off 2,000 employees, and those layoffs came on the same day that Hudson Bay’s rival, Ascena, announced the shuttering of 650 stores.

(If you’re having trouble keeping track of the carnage, that’s fair. Our president is too, so he just ignores it. On June 1, he said he “ended the ‘war on coal’ by opening the aforementioned Acosta coal mine, which will reportedly employ 70 people, or roughly, 0.007% of the Gymboree employees currently facing unemployment.)

But this week was just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, according to a recent MarketWatch report, “the department store space bled 29,900 jobs, while general merchandising stores cut 15,700 positions.” And just last month, retailers shed 6,100 jobs, marking the fourth straight month that the sector’s job numbers have fallen.

Making matters even more dire, is that even if there is a market correction, and more tech-related jobs open up under the retail umbrella, Racked notes that the recovery would likely benefit an entirely different population than the estimated 7.5 million currently facing the chopping block. “If what was once a cash register job now requires advanced tech skills, the evolution of the retail job could end up completely isolating those who have traditionally filled it.”

You can read more about it at Racked.

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