Jun 11, 2017

Who's thriving in the retail bloodbath

We still like to do some of our own chores:

  • Despite the boom in online shopping, Americans still love to pick over and buy their food at brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Americans also like to buy stuff to fix up their homes, and do the work themselves.

These are clear messages from the chart below, researched and created by Axios Visuals Editor Lazaro Gamio. Online shopping's headline hiring is impressive on a percentage basis, soaring by 61% since 2003. But it's still only in the hundreds of thousands. Building materials stores employ 1.1 million workers, and have revitalized in recent years; grocery stores employ 2.7 million workers, a number that grew by almost 9% since 2003.

Expand chart

Data: Occupational Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Why it matters: We are starting to get a clearer picture of which traditional stores might survive the shift to online shopping, and which won't: From May 2003 to May 2016, department stores lost some 295,000 jobs. That's in an industry employing 1.3 million people. But, for policymakers, other industries are stepping in to soak up some of those laid off.

The chart above uses industry-specific data from the Occupational Employment Statistics program within the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each line is the percent change in jobs in a given industry compared with May 2003.

Why we used this data: These numbers vary slightly from the monthly numbers put out by the BLS, which come from the Current Employment Statistics. This survey provides more industry detail — from the best we could tell, the CES lumps in online shopping under "non-store retailers," which includes vending machine operators and direct-selling establishments. In regards to the timeframe, 2003 was the first year in which May data was available, allowing us to compare year to year.

It's not looking good: Both surveys paint a dire picture. The monthly CES data show May 2016 department store employment at 1.3 million, down from 1.6 million in May 2003. The latest CES data — May 2017 — shows 1.27 million people working in department stores, a loss of about 30,000 over the year.

Go deeper

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.

Remembering George Floyd

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

With politicians, clergy and law enforcement in attendance on Thursday in Minneapolis, the family of George Floyd demanded recognition for his life well lived.

Why it matters: Floyd has become the latest symbol of police brutality after he was killed last week when a police officer held a knee to his neck.