The Truth About Retail Jobs

Black Friday and the Truth About Retail Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical retail salesperson earned $20,990 in 2011. The typical cashier earned less — just $18,500. Both are well below the official government poverty threshold of $22,113 for a family of four. Too many retail workers are struggling to support families on these wages. In fact, nearly one in five retail workers at our largest chains is the sole breadwinner in his or her household.

The industry employed more than 15 million Americans this year and is projected to be one of the fastest growing areas of employment over the next decade. While retail bounced back gradually after the Great Recession, the sector's profitability reached a 10-year-high in the first half of 2012. And the holiday forecast is optimistic, predicting a 4.1 percent gain in sales over 2011.

While the retail sector has recovered, retail employees are no better off. They are working harder than ever, and getting less in return. Retail workers' productivity has increased by an average of 0.8% each year since 2008, yet their compensation on average declined. In this sense employees financed the recovery of retail firms by means of increased workloads and forfeited wages.
Comment: Image source - Career Information to become a Cashier. Main article argues that retailers should pay more and provides the justification for that. I don't see that happening. Retail is often the entry level job for high school students.

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