Retail Layoffs and Stagnant Wages in October

retail layoffs

While the U.S. overall had a steady month in terms of job creation in October, retail layoffs and other industries still shed thousands of jobs, while stagnant wages once again impacted the outlook.

The latest data coming from the U.S. Labor Department showed that retail layoffs hit 8,300 in October, while several other industries had similar struggles in the month.

The telecommunications industry, for instance, was a particularly high-paying sector that had a rough month. About 5,000 jobs were lost last month. The average wage for workers in telecommunications is $29.04.

Several blue-collar jobs–staples of this White House administration’s economic plan–also felt the sting of October cutbacks. Textile product mills lost about 800 jobs; the average hourly wage for those positions is $15.10. Logging similarly was hurt in October, dropping 400 jobs. The average hourly wage for those workers is $20.77.


Water transportation was another hard-hit industry, losing 1,800 jobs.

As we’re reported on before, wages were brought down by an influx of restaurant and service worker jobs. These types of low-wage employment bring down the overall wage growth numbers. This can often have a distortion effect on the overall economic picture. While it can tip the wage growth balance downward, it also inflates the success of the economy by showing that more people are employed, even if those jobs are not well-paying nor suitable for a sustainable middle-class lifestyle.

The retail layoffs are a continuing concern in 2017, as many big-box retailer companies have looked towards restructuring, mass closures and selloffs, and even bankruptcy to help make up for the share of their sales being eaten up by e-commerce sites and other alternatives to brick-and-mortar shopping.

While the numbers were positive for October jobs, many industries are still left behind, floundering due to threats of technology, stagnant wages, layoffs, and closures, among other obstacles.



The Jobs Numbers: Who’s Hiring in America—and Who’s Not,” Bloomberg, November 3, 2017.

U.S. Adds 261,000 Jobs as Storm Effects Reverse; Wages Stall,” Bloomberg, November 3, 2017.


Categories: Economic Slowdown