Wages

A crisis for retail jobs

In this image, a Target employee in an orange vest stands next to a line of Target shopping carts.
Outside a Target in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A collision of forces — automation, e-commerce and stagnating wages — is squeezing retail jobs in the U.S.

Why it matters: With more than 15 million jobs, the retail industry is America's biggest employer. A hit to this sector would reverberate across the economy.

Chart: African-Americans jumping back faster into the workforce

Note: Seasonally adjusted; Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Noa Yadidi/Axios

Jobless African-Americans are taking full-time work at a faster rate than unemployed whites, amid a more favorable economy for a population whose prospects have historically been dimmer than for other races.

Why it matters: A strong economy does not undo racism, and the same hurdles that make it difficult to find work have not disappeared. But a tighter labor market forces employers to look outside their usual pool of candidates to find workers.