Retail Sector Job Losses Continue to Bleed U.S. Economy

Giant hand flick businessman away

The U.S. jobs market looks good, unless you happen to work in retail. The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in July, but the retail sector is bucking the trend, with the number of job losses deepening.

According to one report, private payroll growth increased by 178,000 in July, a little shy of Wall Street expectations for 185,000 new jobs. During the month, U.S.-based employers announced plans to eliminate 28,307 jobs in July. That’s the lowest monthly total since November 2016.

This represents a nine-percent decrease over the 31,105 job cuts recorded in June and is 37.6% lower than the 45,346 job cuts announced in July 2016. The last time job cuts were this low was in November 2016, when 26,936 cuts were announced.

Over the first seven months of 2017, employers have announced 255,307 planned job cuts, down 28.9% from the 359,100 cuts announced through the first seven months of 2016.


At the other end of the spectrum, over 88,000 hiring announcements were recorded in July, the third-highest hiring month of the year and the highest July on record.

It’s not all good news, though. The retail sector is bucking the trend, leading all sectors this year when it comes to job cuts.

Over the first seven months of 2017, retailers have announced 63,989 cuts. In July alone, 3,862 retail job cuts were reported. By the end of July, retail job cuts were 46.7% higher than in the same prior-year period, where 43,618 were announced.

Perhaps not surprisingly, healthcare products and services announced the second-highest number of job cuts in July at 3,634. This brings that sector’s year-to-date total to 21,554. Companies in the services sector cut 2,607 jobs in July for a seven-month total of 18,022.

Even though retailers are gutting jobs across the country, the sector is also announcing the most hiring. Retailers have announced 245,616 of the 556,493 new jobs reported so far this year.

But these are not typical retail jobs. With consumers turning increasingly to online shopping, new retail jobs are opening up in fulfillment and distribution centers.

Unfortunately, many of the big fulfillment and distribution centers are located in major cities. This does little to offset the economic challenges being faced by smaller cities across the country.


National Employment Report, July 2017,” ADP Research Institute, last accessed August 2, 2017.

28,307 July Job Cuts – Lowest Monthly Total Since November; Hiring At Record Number,” Challenger, Gray & Christmas, August 3, 2017.


Categories: Job Cuts, News