While demand for labor remains high across the board, the retail sector in particular has been hard hit.
Retail remains part of the bedrock of the US economy, with roughly 15.4 million employees, or one out of ten workers, employed in a retail job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That makes retail one of the biggest industries in the US, and despite the pandemic, demand for retail workers has stayed strong; in 2021, employment in the US retail industry grew by 2%, while total employment in the US grew by only 0.7%.
At the same time, the retail labor market has experienced dramatic upheavals. New data from Textkernel’s Jobfeed, the labor market data resource for HR and recruiters, shows that while total employment has risen by 300,000, nearly 7.5 million workers in the US retail space left their jobs in 2021. If that doesn’t sound dramatic enough, consider that it also means more than half of all retail employees in the US left their jobs in 2021.
Retail workers have left their jobs for a variety of reasons, including low pay, poor working conditions, health concerns related to the pandemic, and burnout. Understandably, resignations rose heading into the holiday season, with the added stress of increased crowds convincing more workers to leave their retail jobs. Despite the wave of resignations, jobs added in the US retail sector reached a record level of nearly 10 million in 2021.