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Sectoral Unemployment: Retail Trade Hit By Coronavirus

Updated : August 4th, 2020

retail trade coronavirus

Retail Trade is a significant sector in the modern economy. It employs a large number of people across various verticals from food to fashion. The market has players as big as Amazon to small neighborhood artisanal stores. You’d expect retail trade to be hit badly by the coronavirus, but there is a mixed record. What is the unemployment in retail trade looking like?

Retail Trading consists of establishments that sell merchandise to retail consumers without themselves altering the products. Even though some retailers are backed by production houses, for the purposes of understanding the sector, that is disregarded for our purposes. Retail Trade also includes non-store retailers like infomercials or catalog retailers.

Overview Of Retail Trade Sector

The Bureau of Labor Statistics informs that the sector employed 16.8 million people in 2018. It showed an unemployment rate of about 7% over the last two quarters. 

The top occupations in this sector are Sales Workers, Supervisors, and Cashiers. Salespersons constitute the largest group of employees. Employees may be paid an average of $20 a week and work for an average of 30 hours a week.

Impact Of COVID-19 On Unemployment In Retail Trade

While not the biggest impact, which the food services sector felt, retail trade has also been hit badly except a few players.

Personal Care stores and health stores have closed down, laying off employees as have sporting goods stores and clothing stores. Nordstrom and other clothing retailers have furloughed employees. Fast fashion brands like H&M were already under fire even before the pandemic and the lockdowns have affected them all.

Electronics Retailers including Apple are experiencing a huge demand drop. With so many unemployment claims filed people have no money to spare. Bookstores and hobby/crafting stores are facing the same problem.

Some big retailers like Amazon, Gap, TJ Maxx, and Kohl’s have been slow to close their stores and have been reported to not take adequate precautions to protect workers.  

Types Of Jobs Still Available

This is where the mixed news comes in. Supermarkets and grocery stores are doing alright during this period. Sales of food and cleaning supplies are at an all-time high and shops selling them, including pharmacies are open. Many of them are hiring sales workers and shelf stockers.

Although Amazon is famed for its eCommerce, it does have some offline ventures like its Go Stores. Them as well as companies like Whole Foods, Target and Walmart are actually hiring workers to cope with the increased orders.

Future Projections

The retail sector’s death has been predicted many times over the years, but it has held on well. In the short term, clothing and shoe retailers are likely to see the biggest losses until the economy equilibrates.

Though online shopping is rising in popularity, the in-store experience and tangibility offered by offline retail stores are strong. Grocery and food marts will continue to provide a convenient pick-up option over unseen produce that ordering them online brings.

It is likely that players like Walmart and Target will not have as many sales once the economy reopens. This may result in them laying off the many workers they are hiring now.

All this hits back at manufacturing sectors since orders get canceled when there is lowered demand, creating a vicious cycle of people not having enough money to buy from these establishments and further dropping demand. The government is attempting to keep up some spending by providing UI benefits and direct payments.

 

If you are a retail worker with uncertainty looming over you such as a pay cut or a furlough, then make sure you can file an unemployment claim right away. Some companies may have to provide paid leave so avail that if you or a family member needs to self-isolate.

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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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