‘Retail Apocalypse’ Due Entirely to Women’s Job Losses

Press Release

While women have seen sharp losses in retail jobs over the last year, men have gained in the industry

Contact: Nic Martinez | 202-785-5100 | martinez@iwpr.org

Washington, DC—The staggering job losses in retail trade over the last year have been felt entirely by women, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) of the December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The analysis also found that men have experienced significant job gains in the industry, particularly in general merchandise stores. Even in clothing, male workers gained for the year, while women workers lost jobs. The oft-reported ‘retail apocalypse’ is primarily a phenomenon experienced by women.

Economist and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., released the following statement on the analysis:

“We’ve seen many news reports of the decline in retail jobs, but few have noted that the picture in retail is much different for women and men. The majority of the losses in retail comes from general merchandising stores, where men have actually gained jobs. We do not know very much about what is driving this trend—are women exiting lower paying retail jobs to enter higher paying industries, such as professional services and health care? Are men gaining in retail because they sell durables and families are finally catching up on delayed purchases on cars, furniture, and household appliances? Are durables the future of general merchandise stores? Or are women disproportionately suffering the weight of the retail apocalypse? The answers to these questions have profound consequences for the vast majority of American families that rely on women’s earnings and for the future of the U.S. economy.”

Click here to read the full analysis.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.