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Indeed Retail Jobs Tracker: How Did the Industry Do in Q2 2018?


Indeed Hiring Lab tracks retail employment over the quarter, analyzing the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data and Indeed’s own job posting and search data. As with our previous Indeed Retail Jobs Tracker, we again look at the state of traditional retail and ecommerce, retail job-seeker behavior, and the geography of retail employment.

Overall, we’ve seen modest growth in the industry over the past three months. Here’s what we’ve found:

  • Retail overview:
    • Total employment in the retail sector through June 2018 was up a bit from a year before (+0.5%), but the sector is growing more slowly than overall job growth (+1.6%). There was significant media attention paid to the May employment report that showed retail jobs increasing by 25,000; but after that month there was pull-back in June, leading to overall lackluster growth in Q2.
    • In recent months employment in “brick and mortar” retail stores has begun to slowly rise, after 2017 showed declines. Brick and mortar retail excludes nonstore (or ecommerce) retailers, as well as auto-related stores.
      • Brick and mortar retail employment was up very modestly from a year before (up 0.21% year-over-year — see chart), as of June 2018.
      • Brick and mortar retail employment stood at nearly 12.4 million, or about 26,000 jobs above the level from June 2017.
    • The worst performing sub-industries are particularly exposed to competition from ecommerce: “Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music Stores,” “Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores,” and “Electronics and Appliance Stores.” The best performing sub-industry (“Building Material and Garden Supply Stores”) may be less vulnerable to ecommerce.
      • “General Merchandise Stores”—like Walmart, Target and other similar retailers—make up the largest share of brick-and-mortar employment, and employment changes have been volatile in recent months. After consistently declining in 2017 and early 2018 (in year-over-year terms), employment rose strongly in April and May, before declining again in June. Employment at general merchandisers was down 0.4% year-over-year in June 2018.
    • Wage growth is about average for retail workers. As of June 2018, average hourly earnings are up 2.4% year-over-year, to $18.58; and average weekly earnings have risen 3.0% to $579.70. So retail workers are getting steady pay raises and more hours. But those increases are about typical for most workers. The growth in hourly earnings for all workers is 2.7% year-over-year, to $26.98; and weekly earnings grew 3.0% to $930.81.

Ecommerce and warehousing:

  • Ecommerce and warehousing jobs are growing briskly, although the rate is slowing for warehousing jobs. We don’t have up-to-date data on ecommerce; the latest readings date to Q4 2017. In that quarter, ecommerce jobs rose 8.1% compared to Q4 2016. This is a slight slowdown from 8.4% year-over-year growth in Q3.
  • Warehousing jobs increased 4.3% year-over-year as of June 2018, a slowdown from a peak of 13.6% in December 2015 but an increase since March of this year.

Indeed job seeker update:

  • What jobs do people have when they click on retail postings? Below are the top 10 jobs of individuals who clicked on retail job postings during Q2 2018. The only significant change from Q1: receptionist and retail sales associate flipped spots at #9 and #10.  


  • Where in the country are we seeing the largest growth in retail job postings and clicks?  Compared to Q1, Miami, Omaha, Riverside, and Oklahoma City entered the top 10 while Cape Coral (FL), Charleston (SC), Baton Rouge (LA), and North Port (FL) dropped out. Knoxville remained #1 in both quarters, and Las Vegas was in the top 3 each time.
  • These are the 10 major cities with the highest share of retail job postings:

  • Below are the top 10 major cities for job seeker interest in retail in Q2. As with Q1, Las Vegas remained easily the top city for clicks. New Orleans and Columbia entered the top 10 this quarter, while Fresno (CA) and Charleston (SC) dropped out.


The sources for the two sections, “Retail overview” and “Ecommerce and warehousing,” are the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In the sections “Indeed job seeker update” and “Geography” the source is internal Indeed data. Cities mean Census metropolitan statistical areas. In the rankings of the top cities, only the ones with at least a greater-than-average number of retail job postings or clicks are shown.

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