It is not too often that you hear a student at graduation say they are an aspiring retailer or would like to be an owner of a brick and mortar store on Main Street. NRF Foundation Chairman and CEO of the Container Store, Kip Tindell, asks, “Why Not?” in a recent letter to retail company executives. According to the latest Intuit Small Business Employment Index, however, there’s good news for Tindell: retailers, and small businesses in general, are starting to interview and hire an influx of interested candidates. July alone marked an addition of 50,000 employees to the payroll of small businesses nationwide. The upward trend in job openings and affiliated hires began in October 2009, and as the economy continues to recover, retailers and other small business operations are responsible for the addition of 715,000 jobs.
Retail and Small Business Employment Statistics
As Susan Woodward, the economist behind the Index, explains, “When we see the hiring rate go up with roughly the same growth in employment as in previous months, we can infer that people are leaving jobs in small businesses. This means that small businesses have to find new employees, which is a good sign for activity in the economy overall.” Simply stated, employment opportunities for retail salespersons are expected to be good, as there is a need to replace the large number of workers transferring to other occupations or leaving the labor force each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “Employment is expected to grow by 8 percent over the 2008 to 2018 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. In addition, given the size of this occupation, about 374,700 new retail salesperson jobs will arise over the projections decade, more jobs than will be generated in almost any other occupation.”
However, as customer sales continue to increase (the sign of a recovering economy), you have to be willing to pay a little more for the help needed. As revealed by Intuit’s Index report, jobs opportunities are increasing, but so is compensation. Average monthly payment for all small business employees was $2,682 in July. In the retail industry specifically, the average hourly wage continues to rise, with the middle 50 percent falling between $8.26 and $13.35 an hour, as recorded in early 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, however, “Compensation systems can vary by type of establishment and merchandise sold.”