The increase in retail jobs could be as a result of more working women. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in today’s Nonfarm Payrolls report that employment in the retail trade increased by 33,000 in June and has risen by over 300,000 over the past year.
At the same time, the unemployment rate for women over 16 dropped from 6.3 percent in June 2014 to 5.5 percent in June 2015. Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income, said, “Women typically tend to dominate the retail sectors.” Piegza also noted that retailers have been ramping up hiring in anticipation of consumers spending their gas savings money, which hasn’t materialized just yet.
However, the retailers may have to blame themselves for the delayed shopping. “We’ve been trained that summer in the third quarter is the best time to get some discounts. Shoppers are just waiting for the deep discounts that come after the Fourth of July holiday.”
Jobs that tend to be traditionally filled by women are also increasing. There was a rise in teaching and health-care jobs in today’s Nonfarm Payrolls report. Piegza pointed out that at one time health-care jobs were assumed to be filled by men and were mainly seen as doctors. Now, she said, it’s mostly women working as nurses, aides and nurse practitioners, to name a few. These well-paying jobs provide career paths for women who usually graduate with much lower debt than female college graduates.
So, more working women means more spending. She-conomy said that women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases and control over $20 trillion in worldwide spending. “Perhaps, consumers are feeling a little more secure in terms of employment,” said Piegza.
The one caveat that the economist did warn about was the drop in labor participation. Fewer women choosing to work can drop the unemployment rate. However, Erica L. Groshen, Commissioner of Labor Statistics, said, “The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged in June at 59.3 percent and has shown little movement thus far in 2015.”
Retailers may want to schedule extra workers for the post-holiday sales because these working women may now finally be ready to spend that hard-earned money.