Monday, November 07, 2011

Holiday Blues

PG has a gloomy picture of seasonal hiring; based mostly it seems on some national punditry.  Never fear, regional seasonal trends in retail employment look awfully metronomic (see below).  Seasonal spikes of between 6 and 9K jobs spikes from September to December are pretty consistent, even during the worst of the recession here a couple years ago.

The more interesting and more important trend is not the seasonal cycle, but the unabated decline of retail employment overall.  Since we really are consuming as much as we used to if not more, the trend looks like the continued evisceration of main street retail.  Generally there are more of the largest retail establishments and for sure a lot fewer of the smallest retail establishments than just a decade ago. The exception being the one 1000+ retail establishment that was showing up in 1998, but not there in 2009.  I should know what that was, but can't quite place it?  I think it must be the Macy's regional HQ jobs that were the vestige of Kaufmanns.  I would have coded them as the industry Management of Companies and Enterprises, but if they were still coded as retail that would be a thousand or so jobs lost at one location.

At the smaller end of the spectrum, in just over a decade over a thousand retail establishments with fewer than 10 employees went away across the region.

Retail Establishments in the Pittsburgh MSA by Establishment Size
Number of Employees
Total Establishments 1-4 5-9 10-19 20-49 50-99 100-249 250-499 500-999 1000 or more
2009 8,447 3,276 2,284 1,577 812 262 198 31 7 0
1998 9,493 3,949 2,657 1,620 750 301 172 38 5 1