While retail sales appear to be on the rise, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, a dearth of skilled workers could impede a more substantive recovery for the embattled industry.
Citing data from a recent LinkedIn report, the Chronicle reported that “the national surplus of people with retail sales skills dropped to 11,632 in August from 115,155 people in January,” which represented “one of the highest changes” the report tracked.
Particularly hard hit were cities already reeling from gentrification, like New York and San Francisco. As the story noted, “New York City swung from a surplus of 2,692 people with retail sales skills in January to a shortage of 6,168 people… [and the] Bay Area’s shortage grew from 4,614 in January to 10,429 people in August.”
Why such a stark jump? Because stores in those places can no longer “afford to hire people who can afford to live within reasonable commuting distance, much less entice people to move [from elsewhere].”
In a place like the Bay Area, for instance, average hourly pay in the first quarter was “$14.28 for retail salespeople and $20.96 for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers,” which might seem reasonable until it’s noted that the “median for all occupations was $28.17 per hour.”
As one shop owner told the Chronicle, “in the past, if a retail worker left the city, another would move in — but now, retail and service workers are being displaced.”
You can read more about it at The San Francisco Chronicle.