Local business gear up for holidays in midst of falling retail jobs nationally


A new report from the Department of Labor shows that while unemployment numbers are at an all-time low, retail jobs are falling.

That’s not stopping big-box chains in Rochester from hiring for the holidays. and locally-owned stores are gearing up as well.

“It’s no different in Rochester than we see nationwide, more and more people are buying online,” said George Conboy, chair of Brighton securities

The labor department reports 11,000 jobs were lost in the month of September from retail trade employment. Within the industry, 14,000 jobs were lost in clothing and accessories stores.

Since the last peak in January of 2017, over 197,000 retail jobs have been lost.

Even with numbers for retail jobs falling, local businesses like Archimage on Monroe Ave say their loyal customers keep them busy.

“I think that when they say retail right, they’re talking about the big stores, like Target or Walmart,” said Louisa Kim, one of four owners of the family-run business Archimage.

“We’re more like a unique family store and a lot more people in Rochester, their really supporting family-owned business,” said Kim.

With holiday shopping in the upcoming months, the slow down in job openings could change how businesses hire for the season.

“The demand for retail help, while it will be higher in the fourth quarter than it is in other quarters, it’s going to be lower than its been most years,” said Conboy.

Owners at arc-image so they will prepare like any other year.

“Usually we have more help,” said Kim, “people come to shop here for Christmas, it’s like a tradition for them. So I look forward to a busy Christmas.”

The Department of Labor reports, that retail salesperson opening has only grown by 0.7% between 2017-2018 in the Rochester area.

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