Industries at a Glance

Retail Trade: NAICS 44-45

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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
Aug.
2014
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

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15,375.4 15,415.3 (P) 15,449.5 (P) 15,499.7

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees (seasonally adjusted)

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13,118.5 13,134.9 (P) 13,158.6 (P) 13,198.2

Unemployment

Unemployment rate

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6.1% 6.5% 5.2% 5.3%

Job openings, hires, and separations (in thousands)

Job openings

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560 586 (P) 581

Hires

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721 701 (P) 967

Separations

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771 676 (P) 712

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

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

Union Membership and Representation

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data
2010 2011 2012 2013

Union membership and representation

Members of unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

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4.7% 4.9% 4.6% 4.6%

Represented by unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

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5.3% 5.4% 5.2% 5.0%

(Source: Current Population Survey)

Dynamic Changes in Employment

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data
2nd quarter
2013
3rd quarter
2013
4th quarter
2013
1st quarter
2014

Dynamic changes in employment (in thousands)

Gross job gains

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948 899 944 877

Gross job losses

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777 856 835 879

(Source: Business Employment Dynamics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2013

Cashiers

2,755,130

Customer service representatives

294,270

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

1,104,490

Retail salespersons

4,196,800

Stock clerks and order fillers

1,239,270

(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

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data
Aug.
2014
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

Average hourly earnings

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$17.05 $17.05 (P) $17.09 (P) $17.13

Average weekly hours

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31.3 31.4 (P) 31.4 (P) 31.5

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

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data
Aug.
2014
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

Average hourly earnings

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$14.45 $14.45 (P) $14.49 (P) $14.49

Average weekly hours

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30.0 30.0 (P) 30.0 (P) 30.1

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Union Membership and Representation

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data
Median weekly earnings
2010 2011 2012 2013

Union membership and representation

Full-time workers

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$575 $578 $592 $602

Members of unions

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$613 $591 $609 $622

Represented by unions

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$608 $592 $598 $624

Nonunion

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$572 $577 $592 $601

(Source: Current Population Survey)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2013
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Cashiers

$9.12 $9.81 $18,980 $20,400

Customer service representatives

$11.68 $12.86 $24,280 $26,740

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

$17.80 $19.82 $37,020 $41,220

Retail salespersons

$10.10 $12.13 $21,010 $25,220

Stock clerks and order fillers

$10.03 $10.97 $20,870 $22,820

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Employer Compensation Costs

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4th quarter
2013
1st quarter
2014
2nd quarter
2014
3rd quarter
2014

12-month percent change

Total compensation

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2.4% 1.7% 1.7% 2.2%

Wages and salaries

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2.2% 1.6% 1.6% 2.5%

(Source: Compensation Cost Trends)



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data
3rd quarter 2014
Compensation component
($ per hour worked)
Percent of total compensation

Compensation costs

Total compensation

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18.02 100.0

Wages and salaries

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13.59 75.4

Total benefits

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4.43 24.6

Insurance

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1.32 7.3

Retirement

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0.39 2.2

(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 2010 2011 2012 2013

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

312 269 273 (P) 254

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

Total recordable cases

4.1 3.9 4.0 3.8

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

2.2 2.2 2.1 2.1

Cases involving days away from work

1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

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.

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data
Aug.
2014
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

Producer price index

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(P) 121.7 (P) 120.8 (P) 124.3 (P) 123.4

Percent change from previous month

(P) 0.0% (P) -0.7% (P) 2.9% (P) -0.7%

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

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data
3rd quarter
2013
4th quarter
2013
1st quarter
2014
2nd quarter
2014

Number of establishments

Private industry

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1,036,819 1,038,676 (P) 1,037,436 (P) 1,042,413

Local government

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575 567 (P) 571 (P) 572

State government

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420 419 (P) 422 (P) 423

Federal government

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716 711 (P) 722 (P) 718

Establishments with changes in employment (in thousands)

With job gains (seasonally adjusted)

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271 276 268

With job losses (seasonally adjusted)

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267 266 274

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

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

Productivity

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data
2010 2011 2012 2013

Labor productivity index, output per hour

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121.321 123.000 126.012 132.268

Percent change from previous year

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2.6 1.4 2.4 5.0

Labor index, total labor hours

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93.133 94.793 95.906 95.536

Percent change from previous year

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0.8 1.8 1.2 -0.4

Output index

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112.990 116.595 120.853 126.364

Percent change from previous year

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3.4 3.2 3.7 4.6

Unit labor costs index

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98.675 98.489 98.015 95.392

Percent change from previous year

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-2.3 -0.2 -0.5 -2.7

(Source: Productivity and Costs)

Other BLS Resources

The Editor's Desk

See industry studies in the subject matter index of The Editor's Desk (Current Edition).

Career Guide to Industries

To learn about careers from an industry perspective, see the Career Guide to Industries.

Data extracted on: December 19, 2014

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