The retail apocalypse is disproportionately affecting women -- and nobody knows why

  • Women accounted for most retail jobs lost in 2017, according to an analysis of the Bureau Labour Statistics data.
  • At the same time, men gained jobs in retail.
  • Nobody knows quite what to make of the statistics.

Stores closed at a record pace in 2017, and over a hundred thousand people are out of work because of it.

But a new analysis shows that while women are losing their retail jobs, more men are moving into the industry. Using Bureau of Labour Statistics data from the last year, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that women lost 129,000 jobs while men actually got 106,000 new jobs.

That means women are now the slight minority in the retail industry, with 49.6 per cent of jobs the industry.

General merchandise stores – which include big box and department stores – saw the starkest contrast, with 161,000 jobs lost by women, but 87,800 jobs gained by men. The only category where women gained more jobs than men is a category called “non store” – which includes online retail.

The president of IWPR, Heidi Hartmann, couldn’t tell Bloomberg exactly what has caused this stark job numbers. She suggested women may be taking higher paying jobs, or that the retail jobs in demand are in masculine fields like technology and automotive.

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