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Industries at a Glance
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Retail Trade: NAICS 44-45

About the Retail Trade sector

The retail trade sector is part of the trade, transportation, and utilities supersector.

The Retail Trade sector comprises establishments engaged in retailing merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.

The retailing process is the final step in the distribution of merchandise; retailers are, therefore, organized to sell merchandise in small quantities to the general public. This sector comprises two main types of retailers: store and nonstore retailers.

1. Store retailers operate fixed point-of-sale locations, located and designed to attract a high volume of walk-in customers. In general, retail stores have extensive displays of merchandise and use mass-media advertising to attract customers. They typically sell merchandise to the general public for personal or household consumption, but some also serve business and institutional clients. In addition to retailing merchandise, some types of store retailers are also engaged in the provision of after-sales services, such as repair and installation.

2. Nonstore retailers, like store retailers, are organized to serve the general public, but their retailing methods differ. The establishments of this subsector reach customers and market merchandise with methods, such as the broadcasting of "infomercials," the broadcasting and publishing of direct-response advertising, the publishing of paper and electronic catalogs, door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstration, selling from portable stalls (street vendors, except food), and distribution through vending machines.

North American Industry Classification System

The retail trade sector consists of these subsectors:

Workforce Statistics

This section provides information relating to employment and unemployment in retail trade. While most data are obtained from employer or establishment surveys, information on industry unemployment comes from a national survey of households. The following tables present an overview of the industry including the number of jobs, the unemployment rate of those previously employed in the industry, job openings and labor turnover, union membership and representation, gross job gains and losses, data for occupations common to the industry, and projections of occupational employment change.

Employment, Unemployment, and Openings, Hires, and Separations

Data series Back
data
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

14,785.4 15,046.4 (p)15,069.8 (p)15,173.5

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees (seasonally adjusted)

12,601.1 12,838.7 (p)12,874.9 (p)12,955.7

Unemployment

Unemployment rate

10.2% 8.8% 8.0% 6.9%

Job openings, hires, and separations (in thousands)

Job openings

879 834 (p)784  

Hires

816 948 (p)740  

Separations

734 858 (p)668  

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics, Current Population Survey, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey)

Union Membership and Representation

Data series Back
data
2016 2017 2018 2019

Union membership and representation

Members of unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

4.3% 4.5% 4.3% 4.0%

Represented by unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

4.9% 5.0% 5.0% 4.7%

(Source: Current Population Survey)

Dynamic Changes in Employment

Data series Back
data
2nd quarter
2019
3rd quarter
2019
4th quarter
2019
1st quarter
2020

Dynamic changes in employment (in thousands)

Gross job gains

876 858 891 906

Gross job losses

976 943 887 874

(Source: Business Employment Dynamics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2019

Cashiers

2,967,870

Customer service representatives

422,860

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

1,061,850

Retail salespersons

3,995,840

Stock clerks and order fillers

1,402,230

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Projections

For projected (future) employment estimates, see the National Employment Matrix, which includes employment estimates by industry and occupation for retail trade.

(Source: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections)

Earnings and Hours

This section presents data on employee earnings and weekly hours. The latest industry averages of hourly earnings and weekly hours, as well as weekly earnings by union membership status, are shown. In addition, recent hourly and annual earnings are shown for occupations commonly found in retail trade. This section also contains information on the average cost of benefits paid by employers, as well as recent rates of change in wages and total compensation.

Earnings and Hours of All Employees

Data series Back
data
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020

Average hourly earnings

$20.98 $21.17 (p)$21.36 (p)$21.20

Average weekly hours

30.6 30.7 (p)30.9 (p)30.9

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020

Average hourly earnings

$17.50 $17.75 (p)$17.79 (p)$17.89

Average weekly hours

30.9 30.9 (p)30.9 (p)31.0

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Union Membership and Representation

Data series Back
data
Median weekly earnings
2016 2017 2018 2019

Union membership and representation

Full-time workers

$623 $656 $671 $701

Members of unions

$645 $721 $719 $744

Represented by unions

$645 $714 $700 $730

Nonunion

$622 $653 $669 $699

(Source: Current Population Survey)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2019
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Cashiers

$11.40 $11.72 $23,710 $24,380

Customer service representatives

$13.65 $14.72 $28,380 $30,610

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

$19.29 $21.90 $40,110 $45,550

Retail salespersons

$12.11 $14.06 $25,200 $29,250

Stock clerks and order fillers

$12.35 $13.15 $25,690 $27,350

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Employer Compensation Costs

Data series Back
data
4th quarter
2019
1st quarter
2020
2nd quarter
2020
3rd quarter
2020

12-month percent change

Total compensation

3.2% 3.1% 2.8% 2.7%

Wages and salaries

3.9% 3.7% 3.4% 2.9%

(Source: Compensation Cost Trends)



Data series Back
data
2nd quarter 2020
Compensation component
($ per hour worked)
Percent of total compensation

Compensation costs

Total compensation

20.94 100.0

Wages and salaries

15.83 75.6

Total benefits

5.11 24.4

Insurance

1.39 6.6

Retirement

0.44 2.1

(Source: Compensation Cost Trends)

Work-related Fatalities, Injuries, and Illnesses

This section presents data for the industry on the number of workplace fatalities and the rates of workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in retail trade. An injury or illness is considered to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

Data series 2015 2016 2017 2018

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

269 282 289 275

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

Data series 2019

Rate of injury and illness cases per 100 full-time workers

Total recordable cases

3.4

Cases involving days away from work, job restriction, or transfer

2.0

Cases involving days away from work

1.0

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

1.0

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

(Source: Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities)

Prices

This section provides industry-specific pricing information. The producer price index measures the percentage change in prices that domestic producers receive for goods and services. The prices included in the producer price index are from the first commercial transaction.

Data series Back
data
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020

Producer price index

(p)134.3 (p)136.5 (p)138.4 (p)141.3

Percent change from previous month

  (p)-0.1% (p)1.6% (p)1.4% (p)2.1%

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Producer Price Indexes)

Workplace Trends

This section presents data on the number of establishments and the number of establishments experiencing job gains or job losses in retail trade. Also included in this section is information on productivity, presented as the rate of change in output per hour of workers in the industry.

Establishments

Data series Back
data
2nd quarter
2019
3rd quarter
2019
4th quarter
2019
1st quarter
2020

Number of establishments

Private industry

1,043,323 1,043,974 1,046,756 (p)1,046,115

Local government

675 676 672 (p)673

State government

437 436 436 (p)437

Federal government

665 667 669 (p)671

Establishments with changes in employment (in thousands)

With job gains (seasonally adjusted)

264 262 270 262

With job losses (seasonally adjusted)

294 286 278 281

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Business Employment Dynamics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

Productivity

Data series Back
data
2016 2017 2018 2019

Labor productivity index, output per hour

118.980 121.524 125.209 131.843

Percent change from previous year

4.6 2.1 3.0 5.3

Labor index, total labor hours

98.632 99.902 99.785 98.267

Percent change from previous year

-0.2 1.3 -0.1 -1.5

Output index

117.353 121.405 124.940 129.558

Percent change from previous year

4.4 3.5 2.9 3.7

Unit labor costs index

100.458 99.921 100.446 99.306

Percent change from previous year

-1.3 -0.5 0.5 -1.1

(Source: Productivity and Costs)

 

Data extracted on: November 20, 2020