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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. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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