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American retail workers have now lost jobs for the fourth straight month, locking in a trend in which shoppers are spurning bricks-and-mortar shops and buying on-line.

The U.S. economy added 138,000 new jobs in May, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.3%, according to a report issued Friday by the Labor Department. Markets won't be too disappointed with these headline numbers, even though job growth was below economist expectations by roughly 50,000.

Expand chart

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

But retail had another tough month: In retail, 6,100 people lost their jobs, adding up to 80,300 since the start of the year, the government said. This falls in line with the US and global shift to on-line shopping.

A level deeper: The trend occurs in one of the country's primary job sectors: some 15.9 million US workers are employed in retail, which has been a vital entry point for low-skilled workers, and a safe harbor for those who have fallen out of other jobs.

Be smart: If this trend continues, the U.S. worker may lose a vital step on the ladder of economic mobility. Workers often earn only minimum wage, but without bricks-and-mortar stores and malls, it's hard to see where those employed in them will find other work.

Go deeper

Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of COVID-19 cases

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Belgium is enforcing a strict lockdown starting Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and a surge of deaths, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Why it matters: De Croo said the government saw no choice but to lock down "to ensure that our health care system does not collapse." Scientists and health officials said deaths have doubled every six days, per the Guardian.

25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Reid Hoffman launches $1M ad urging election patience

Screengrab of ad

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of Democrats' biggest donors, tells Axios he's launching a $1 million digital ad campaign in battleground states urging voters to be patient with election results and prepare for no winner to be known on Nov. 3, no matter what "some people" may prematurely declare via Twitter.

Driving the news: The three-minute ad, titled "We Count! A Patriotic Musical Extravaganza," features the voice of "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons and Broadway star Barrett Doss. The spot will appear on Facebook targeting voters in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.