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Industries at a Glance
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Retail Trade: NAICS 44-45

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
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
May
2021
Jun.
2021

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

15,234.6 15,212.6 (p)15,239.3 (p)15,306.4

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees (seasonally adjusted)

12,993.1 12,971.3 (p)12,977.6 (p)13,010.0

Unemployment

Unemployment rate

6.8% 6.8% 7.3% 6.6%

Job openings, hires, and separations (in thousands)

Job openings

835 970 (p)964  

Hires

710 796 (p)900  

Separations

627 814 (p)795  

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

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

Union Membership and Representation

Data series Back
data
2017 2018 2019 2020

Union membership and representation

Members of unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

4.5% 4.3% 4.0% 4.6%

Represented by unions (percent of wage and salary workers)

5.0% 5.0% 4.7% 5.1%

(Source: Current Population Survey)

Dynamic Changes in Employment

Data series Back
data
1st quarter
2020
2nd quarter
2020
3rd quarter
2020
4th quarter
2020

Dynamic changes in employment (in thousands)

Gross job gains

906 963 1,520 936

Gross job losses

874 2,529 827 848

(Source: Business Employment Dynamics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2020

Cashiers

2,804,670

Customer service representatives

415,550

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

962,070

Retail salespersons

3,364,790

Stock clerks and order fillers

1,411,940

(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage 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

Data series Back
data
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
May
2021
Jun.
2021

Average hourly earnings

$21.46 $21.66 (p)$21.86 (p)$21.92

Average weekly hours

30.8 31.0 (p)31.0 (p)30.8

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
May
2021
Jun.
2021

Average hourly earnings

$18.06 $18.40 (p)$18.41 (p)$18.57

Average weekly hours

31.1 31.0 (p)31.0 (p)30.8

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2020
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Cashiers

$12.05 $12.38 $25,070 $25,740

Customer service representatives

$14.20 $15.22 $29,540 $31,660

First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

$19.86 $22.61 $41,300 $47,020

Retail salespersons

$13.02 $14.81 $27,070 $30,800

Stock clerks and order fillers

$13.20 $13.79 $27,450 $28,690

(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics)

Employee Benefits

This section presents data on the incidence (the percentage of workers with access to and participation in employer-provided benefit plans) and provisions of selected employee benefits from the National Compensation Survey. More Benefits estimates are also accessible from the Benefits database, the archived NCS publications page, and the complete Employee Benefits Excel dataset (XLSX).

Data series Access Participation
Back
data
2020 Back
data
2020

Private industry

Retirement benefit plans

72 40

Defined benefit plans

10 6

Defined contribution plans

67 36

(Source: Employee Benefits in the United States)

Data series After 1 year of service After 20 years of service
Back
data
2020 Back
data
2020

Mean number of vacation days for private industry workers without consolidated leave plans

6 16

(Source: Employee Benefits in the United States)

Data series Back
data
2020

Percent of private industry workers with access to employer-sponsored benefits

Health care

55

Paid vacation

72

Paid sick leave

65

(Source: Employee Benefits in the United States)

Employer Compensation Costs

Data series Back
data
3rd quarter
2020
4th quarter
2020
1st quarter
2021
2nd quarter
2021

Private industry

12-month percent change

Total compensation

2.7% 3.5% 3.8% 4.2%

Wages and salaries

2.9% 4.0% 4.2% 4.7%

3-month percent change

Total compensation

0.3% 1.4% 1.2% 1.3%

Wages and salaries

0.3% 1.6% 1.1% 1.5%

(Source: Compensation Cost Trends)

Data series Private industry
Compensation component
($ per hour worked)
Percent of total compensation
Back
data
1st quarter 2021 Back
data
1st quarter 2021

Total compensation

21.95 100.0

Wages and salaries

16.69 76.0

Total benefits

5.26 24.0

Insurance

1.35 6.1

Retirement

0.42 1.9

Paid leave

1.11 5.0

(Source: Compensation Cost Trends)

Union Membership and Representation

Data series Back
data
Median weekly earnings
2017 2018 2019 2020

Union membership and representation

Full-time workers

$656 $671 $701 $721

Members of unions

$721 $719 $744 $731

Represented by unions

$714 $700 $730 $728

Nonunion

$653 $669 $699 $721

(Source: Current Population Survey)

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 2016 2017 2018 2019

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

282 289 275 291

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

Data series 2019

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

Total recordable cases

3.4

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

2.0

Cases involving days away from work

1.0

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

1.0

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.

Data series Back
data
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
May
2021
Jun.
2021

Producer price index

(p)141.2 (p)145.9 (p)146.0 (p)148.6

Percent change from previous month

  (p)0.6% (p)3.3% (p)0.1% (p)1.8%

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

Data series Back
data
1st quarter
2020
2nd quarter
2020
3rd quarter
2020
4th quarter
2020

Number of establishments

Private industry

(p)1,042,526 (p)1,039,138 (p)1,044,480 (p)1,049,151

Local government

(p)674 (p)674 (p)675 (p)674

State government

(p)437 (p)437 (p)440 (p)441

Federal government

(p)671 (p)669 (p)666 (p)670

Establishments with changes in employment (in thousands)

With job gains (seasonally adjusted)

262 208 353 286

With job losses (seasonally adjusted)

281 453 234 249

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

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

Productivity

Data series Back
data
2017 2018 2019 2020

Labor productivity index, output per hour

120.719 124.393 130.360 140.392

Percent change from previous year

1.9 3.0 4.8 7.7

Labor index, total labor hours

99.896 99.783 98.139 94.650

Percent change from previous year

1.3 -0.1 -1.6 -3.6

Output index

120.593 124.123 127.934 132.880

Percent change from previous year

3.2 2.9 3.1 3.9

Unit labor costs index

100.569 101.106 100.535 99.837

Percent change from previous year

-0.3 0.5 -0.6 -0.7

(Source: Productivity and Costs)

 

Data extracted on: July 30, 2021