Skills Gaps | Retail on the Rebound
Hiring in the retail industry may only be up 0.5 percent from last August, but employer demand for retail workers is surging, belying the “retail apocalypse” narrative that’s dominated in recent years. Since January 2018, the national surplus of people with retail sales skills has decreased from a massive 115,155 people down to 11,632 people as of August 2018. While it’s still a national surplus, this represents one of the highest changes in demand across all the skills we track — and some cities even have growing local shortages. New York City, for instance, has swung from a surplus of 2,692 people with retail sales skills in January to a shortage of 6,168 people by July. This could reflect the decrease in rent for retail spaces in the city over the past year, which has spurred a wave of retailers to open up shops. The other largest shortages for retail sales skills are in the San Francisco Bay Area (10,429 people) and Seattle (3,804 people). Conversely, the largest surpluses of people with these skills are in Chicago (3,311 people), Minneapolis-St. Paul (2,733 people), and Philadelphia (2,683 people).