Approximate retail jobs postings between 1 January and 16 August in the US stood at 1,867,562 – a decline of 21% from the previous year – according to GlobalData’s analytics. In the UK, there was a more moderate decline of 7%, with retail job postings shrinking from 198,430 in 2022 to 183,743 in 2023.

This contraction in retail job hirings echoes a cooling in the wider labour market as governments take action to bring down inflation through successive interest rate hikes. In their 25-26 July meeting, Federal Reserve officials in the US reiterated their commitment to “returning inflation to its 2% objective” while also seeking to achieve “maximum employment”.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the 7% year-on-year shrinkage in retail hirings follows the latest Bank of England interest rate hike, bringing the base rate to 5.25% – its highest level since February 2008.

While retail sales in the US remain buoyant, underpinned by strong wage gains, the UK’s retail sales volumes fell 1.2% in July 2023, with retailers citing the continued effect of the increased cost of living and recent poor weather. According to the Office for National Statistics, the divergence between retail sales values and volumes in the UK widened to 18.9 index points in July 2023 – up from 14.4 index points a year earlier.

Retail job growth in the UK may also have been affected by increasing e-commerce market penetration, with the share of online retail sales increasing from 26% in June to 27.4% in July (the highest proportion since February 2022) – up from 24.9% in July 2022.

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Thematic Engine, which tags millions of data items across six alternative datasets — patents, jobs, deals, company filings, social media mentions and news — to themes, sectors and companies. These signals enhance our predictive capabilities, helping us to identify the most disruptive threats across each of the sectors we cover and the companies best placed to succeed.

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By GlobalData