The retail sector is a major source of employment in many economies. In the United States alone, retail trade employs around 15.7 million people as of 2021, accounting for nearly 10% of all US jobs.
Current State of US Retail Employment
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total employment in the US retail trade sector is over 15.7 million as of April 2022. This includes both full-time and part-time jobs.
- Retail job numbers saw a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic but have rebounded close to pre-pandemic levels as the economy recovers.
- Compared to April 2021, retail trade employment has increased by 114,000 as of April 2022. However, it is still 101,000 jobs below February 2020 pre-pandemic levels.
- The three largest retail subsectors based on employment are general merchandise stores (3.6 million jobs), food and beverage stores (3.1 million), and motor vehicle and parts dealers (2.0 million).
Job Growth Projections
The BLS projects employment in retail trade will grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031, adding around 621,800 jobs over the decade. This is around the average growth rate projected across all industries.
- The subsectors expected to see the most growth are:
- General merchandise stores (+96,100 jobs)
- Food and beverage stores (+94,600 jobs)
- Building material and garden supply stores (+94,500 jobs)
- Subsectors with slower projected growth include electronics and appliance stores (+16,900 jobs) and clothing and accessories stores (+26,000 jobs).
- Overall retail job growth reflects trends like increased consumer spending, new store openings to serve growing populations, and omnichannel retail blending online and in-store shopping.
In April 2022, there were 989,000 job openings across the retail trade sector according to BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The most openings were seen in:
- General merchandise stores (349,000 openings)
- Clothing and clothing accessories stores (131,000)
- Food and beverage stores (129,000)
- Motor vehicle and parts dealers (119,000)
This high number of openings suggests strong employer demand to hire retail workers amidst labor shortages and turnover.
Types of Jobs Available
Many types of retail jobs are widely available across the country. Top retail occupations and their median annual salaries include:
- Retail Salespersons – $25,460
- Cashiers – $23,780
- First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers – $40,120
- Stockers and Order Fillers – $27,040
- Customer Service Representatives – $33,740
Retail offers opportunities like sales associate jobs, cashier jobs, stocking jobs, customer service jobs, and supervisory/management roles. Both full-time and part-time jobs are widely available.
Overall, the retail sector continues to be a significant source of jobs in the economy, with millions of openings expected over the next decade. The variety of roles and flexible scheduling options make retail an accessible industry for many types of workers.
What is the job outlook for customer service representatives?
Customer service representatives play a vital role in building brand relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction. With the economy recovering amidst labor shortages, what is the job outlook for this key service occupation?
- Over 2.7 million people worked as customer service representatives in the US as of 2021.
- Employment is spread across many industries, led by professional, scientific and technical services (359,900 jobs), finance and insurance (353,700), administrative and support services (319,100), and healthcare (225,500).
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, adding about 128,600 jobs.
Table 1: Key Facts on Customer Service Representative Jobs
|2021 Employment||2,779,100 jobs|
|2021 Median Annual Salary||$35,980|
|Projected Growth 2021-2031||5% (+128,600 jobs)|
|Projected Annual Job Openings 2021-2031||481,900|
Driving Factors for Job Growth
Key factors driving increased demand for customer service representatives include:
- More focus by companies on customer experience and retention
- Consumers accustomed to high levels of service quality
- Omnichannel customer service across phone, email, chat, social media
- Growth in healthcare, financial services, technology service industries
- Businesses bringing call center jobs back from overseas
Additionally, turnover among customer service reps is high, so there are consistently many openings to fill.
Job Outlook by Industry
The industries projected to add the most customer service representative jobs from 2021-2031 are:
- Professional, scientific and technical services (+30,000 jobs)
- Administrative and support services (+23,100)
- Finance and insurance (+22,700)
- Information (+8,900)
- Healthcare (+8,000)
This reflects broader economic trends empowering growth in these service-oriented sectors.
Considerations for Job Seekers
For those interested in pursuing customer service roles, some important factors to consider include:
- Educational requirements – Many employers prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Others may require an Associate’s degree.
- Technical skills – Proficiency with customer service software and CRM tools is desirable. Candidates should showcase computer, typing, and multi-tasking skills.
- Communication skills – Strong written and verbal communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize, problem solve, and de-escalate conflicts is vital.
- Certifications – Voluntary customer service certifications (e.g. from a group like the International Customer Service Association) can boost resumes.
Overall, with sound employment growth and a constant need to fill openings, the future looks promising for qualified customer service professionals over the next decade. The role provides an accessible opportunity to gain experience in the service industry.
How rapidly is the food service industry growing and how many jobs will be available?
The food service industry has been one of the fastest growing job sectors in the economy in recent years. Driven by consumer demand, changing lifestyles, and demographics, the number of food service jobs is projected to continue increasing over the next decade.
Current Industry Employment
- As of 2021, there were over 12.5 million people employed in food service and drinking places in the United States. This includes roles like cooks, servers, hosts, dishwashers, chefs, and managers.
- Food service accounts for about 8% of all US jobs, employing more people than many other major industries.
- In recent years, industry employment grew rapidly. From 2011 to 2021, food service and drinking places added over 2.4 million jobs, an increase of 24%.
- However, employment dipped during the pandemic as restrictions limited business. The industry has rebounded but is still below pre-pandemic levels as of mid-2022.
Projected Employment Growth
Looking ahead, food service jobs are expected to continue growing over the next decade:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects food service employment will increase 11% from 2021 to 2031, adding 1.4 million jobs.
- This 11% growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations (7%).
- The food services industry is expected to have among the highest levels of job creation of any industry over the next 10 years.
Several key factors are fueling the continued growth in food service jobs:
- Demand for convenience as populations become more urban and busy
- More people dining out as discretionary incomes rise
- Young adults eat out more frequently than past generations
- Businesses need food catering services for events and office needs
- Growing senior populations will require more food service in senior living communities
As long as these lifestyle and demographic trends continue, food service jobs will keep growing.
Types of Jobs Available
The food industry provides employment across roles including:
- Servers and waiters
- Cooks and chefs
- Fast food workers and counter attendants
- Restaurant hosts and hostesses
- Restaurant managers
- Food prep workers
Both full-service and fast food restaurants, caterers, cafeterias, and bars will need more workers to meet rising demand. These roles offer opportunities for millions of new entrants to the job market.
For those seeking accessible employment with opportunities for advancement and flexible scheduling, the booming food service industry will continue generating new jobs over the coming decade across both kitchen and service roles.
What are the most in-demand jobs in hospitality and tourism?
The hospitality and tourism industry has been rapidly bouncing back as the economy recovers from the pandemic’s impacts. With travel and leisure spending picking up, what jobs are most in demand in this sector?
Overview of Hospitality and Tourism
The hospitality industry provides accommodations, lodging, event planning, transportation, and other services for travelers and tourists. Key segments include:
- Hotels and other lodging establishments
- Full-service and fast food restaurants
- Event venues, convention centers, caterers
- Theme parks, casinos, attractions
- Passenger transportation services
- Travel agencies, tour operators
Prior to 2020, hospitality and tourism was one of the fastest growing industries, driven by rising global incomes and leisure time. The pandemic severely impacted business, leading to layoffs. But travel activity is resurging worldwide.
In-Demand Jobs in the Sector
As hospitality and tourism recover, some of the most urgent jobs needed across the industry include:
Food and Beverage Roles
- Cooks and chefs
- Restaurant hosts
- Food preparation workers
Demand is high for dining staff and kitchen teams as restaurants rush to meet returning customer demand.
Lodging and Accommodations
- Housekeeping and cleaning staff
- Front desk staff and hotel receptionists
- Laundry attendants
- Meeting and convention planners
Hotels, resorts, cruises and other lodging providers need to staff back up to handle bookings. Customer-facing and housekeeping roles are most in need.
Tourism and Entertainment
- Tour guides
- Casino service staff
- Ticketing clerks
- Ride operators
- Theater workers
Destinations need workers to staff attractions, provide services, and enhance experiences for travelers.
Hiring Outlook in Key States
States that rely heavily on tourism are seeing particularly strong hospitality job growth, including:
- Florida – Orlando and Miami hiring across lodging, food service, entertainment
- California – Major hiring demand in Los Angeles, San Diego and Bay Area
- New York – Strong need for hotel, restaurant, and attraction workers in NYC
- Nevada – Las Vegas has huge job openings across casinos and entertainment
- Hawaii – Island tourism fueling food service, lodging, and activity jobs
Opportunities for Job Seekers
For job seekers, hospitality offers diverse roles with opportunity for advancement and flexible scheduling. Employers are eager to hire amid labor shortages. With global tourism projected to make a full recovery by 2023 or 2024, this is an advantageous time to explore the many options in hospitality.
How competitive is the market for sales jobs in consumer goods and services?
Sales roles are critical for companies looking to maximize revenues and grow their customer base. For job seekers, positions in sales can provide opportunities to earn high wages and advance into management. But how competitive is the hiring market today for sales roles in the consumer sector?
Overview of Sales Jobs
Sales workers help companies generate revenues by building relationships with new customers, selling goods and services, and maintaining accounts with existing clients. Major sales sectors include:
- Retail sales – e.g. at department, grocery, clothing, and other brick-and-mortar stores
- Sales representatives – selling to businesses or wholesalers
- Insurance sales agents
- Advertising sales agents
- Sales engineers – selling complex equipment and software
- Real estate brokers and sales agents
Sales agents typically earn a base salary plus commissions or bonuses based on their performance.
Competitive Job Market
In general, the market for sales roles across consumer industries remains highly competitive. Key factors include:
- Many sales positions only require a high school diploma or associate degree, leading to abundant candidates
- Sales skills are gained through experience and personality, not formal credentials
- Lucrative commission-based pay motivates candidates to pursue roles
- Turnover is often high as underperformers wash out or top performers get promoted
However, sales roles that require technical expertise or relationships in a niche industry tend to be less competitive.
While the candidate pool is large for many sales roles, some factors give applicants an edge:
- College degrees preferred for sales engineers, pharmaceutical reps, wholesale, and business-to-business sellers
- Industry-specific experience a major benefit for industrial, IT, and other specialized sales
- Personality traits like charisma, persistence and confidence important
- Referrals and networking into companies can help land opportunities
- Strong past sales performance and achievement of quotas
Additionally, the sheer number of sales roles available ensures continual opportunities.
Outlook by Industry
Hiring competition varies significantly between sales industries:
- Retail – Highly competitive due to low barriers to entry
- Insurance – Moderately competitive, with state licensing requirements
- Pharmaceuticals – Less competitive given technical demands
- Medical Devices – Competitive landscape depends on specific products
- Software – Very competitive due to rapid industry growth
Job seekers should target roles that best match their specific credentials, experience and talents.
Tips for Candidates
For sales job candidates, key tips include:
- Seek mentors already in sales to learn the ropes
- Consider short-term contract sales jobs to gain experience
- Highlight sales skills like persuasion, listening and problem-solving
- Obtain industry credentials/certifications where applicable
- Network extensively and leverage professional contacts
While sales jobs are broadly competitive, job seekers can improve their chances by carefully positioning their experience and abilities.
Overall, sales remains a highly competitive field, but one that presents real opportunities for candidates who can sell themselves and deliver impressive results.
What is the availability of part-time and flexible jobs in consumer services?
Alongside the growth in consumer services employment overall, part-time and flexible work opportunities are also expanding significantly. What options exist for those seeking less than full-time schedules in retail, hospitality, and related service industries?
Trends Driving Flexible Jobs
Several key labor trends are leading to greater availability of part-time and flexible consumer service jobs:
- Younger workers desire flexibility to accommodate school or work/life balance
- Older workers approaching retirement seeking supplemental income
- Working parents needing schedules that mesh with childcare needs
- Companies requiring extra staffing at peak periods
- Virtual customer service allowing remote work options
Enabling technologies like online scheduling platforms also make flexible staffing easier for employers.
Part-Time Retail Jobs
Retailers across segments like clothing, grocery, general merchandise, and hardware typically have abundant part-time opportunities, including:
- Sales associate roles on evenings, weekends, or limited weekly hours
- Stocking and inventory management positions with flexible shifts
- Customer service roles split between phone, online, and in-store
- Seasonal hires during peak holiday or summer tourist seasons
Part-time schedules often range from 10-30 hours per week across days and times when store traffic is highest.
Food Service Flexibility
The food industry thrives on flexible part-time workers, found in:
- Fast food and quick service restaurants
- Full-service and family dining establishments
- Catering and banquet services
- Cafeterias at offices, hospitals, universities
- Concessions at entertainment venues
Common part-time shifts are mornings, mealtimes, late nights, and weekends. Roles include servers, cooks, dishwashers, cashiers, and customer service.
Hospitality and Tourism Jobs
The travel and hospitality sector also relies heavily on part-time positions:
- Hotels and resorts need housekeepers, laundry staff, maintenance on varied shifts
- Theme parks and entertainment venues need ticketing agents, ride operators and more to cover peak attendance
- Transportation providers like airlines use part-time gate agents, flight attendants, and customer service staff
Seasonal hiring also spikes during peak tourist seasons.
**Other Prominent Sectors
- Healthcare – Aides, dietary workers, patient transporters with varied shifts
- Automotive – Car washers, drivers, repair assistants on flexible schedules
- Personal services – Dog walkers, gym/fitness trainers, beauty services
- Delivery – Drivers for food and goods delivery with customized hours
- Administrative – Virtual assistants, data entry clerks, customer support
Outlook for Job Seekers
For those seeking a part-time or flexible schedule, consumer service industries offer a wide range of roles and hiring demand. Benefits like supplemental income, family care flexibility, and career development opportunities abound.
With consumer spending projected to keep growing, expect the abundance of flexible service jobs to continue flourishing as well. Companies recognize the symbiotic advantages of staffing consumer-facing operations with workers preferring customized schedules.
The combination of rising employer demand and shifting worker preferences makes this an opportune time for part-time employment across retail, food services, hospitality, and related industries.
How many jobs are available in the home healthcare industry?
The home healthcare industry has experienced robust growth in recent years due to an aging population and rise in chronic medical conditions. For job seekers, how many opportunities currently exist, and what is the hiring outlook moving forward?
- As of 2021, approximately 3.5 million people were employed across the home healthcare services industry in the United States, including roles such as:
- Personal care aides
- Home health aides
- Home health and nursing assistants
- Therapists – physical, occupational, speech
- Medical social workers
- Home health registered nurses
- Employment grew rapidly over the past decade, driven by healthcare system shifts toward more care in home settings and patient preferences to age at home.
- From 2011 to 2021, home healthcare services added over 1 million jobs, an increase of 43%.
- The industry employed more workers than prominent sectors like air transportation, telecommunications, and building equipment contractors.
Projected Job Growth
Home healthcare jobs are projected to continue growing robustly over the next decade:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment will increase 36% from 2021 to 2031, adding 1.3 million jobs.
- This is more than 3x the average growth rate for all occupations.
- Openings will be driven by rising rates of chronic conditions in an aging population and medical advancements allowing more care provision outside hospitals.
- Home health aides and personal care aides alone are projected to add over 1 million new jobs.
Considerations for Job Seekers
For those looking to enter the home healthcare field, key points include:
- Minimal barriers to entry – Many aide roles require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers provide on-the-job training.
- Certifications valued – Certifications for aides and assistants demonstrate competency. CNA and HHA certifications can improve job prospects and earnings.
- Communication skills critical – Must have empathy, active listening, and problem-solving to work directly with clients.
- Demand across settings – Openings with home health agencies, hospice providers, private households, residential care communities, and more.
- Flexible scheduling – Many part-time, evening, weekend, and variable schedules available.
The home healthcare industry presents a robust job market for those interested in entering a rapidly growing healthcare services field. Given substantial projected growth, ample opportunities should continue arising over the coming decade.
What types of jobs are available in the automobile sales and service sector?
The auto industry provides a major source of jobs across both vehicle sales and maintenance services. With rising new car sales and an aging fleet of existing vehicles, what opportunities exist in automotive retail and repair?
Automobile Industry Overview
The auto industry includes businesses involved in manufacturing, selling, and servicing motor vehicles. Segments include:
- Auto manufacturing – Mass market and luxury car brands
- Auto dealers – Independently owned dealerships selling new and used vehicles
- Auto parts – Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of parts and accessories
- Repair and maintenance – Businesses performing repairs, oil changes, inspections
- Rental and leasing – Rental car agencies and car share platforms
- Automotive financial services – Auto loans, insurance providers
Automobile Retail Jobs
Dealerships provide many of the customer-facing sales roles within the auto industry, including:
- Sales representatives – Building relationships with customers to sell vehicles
- Internet salespeople – Engaging and transacting with online buyers
- Sales managers – Overseeing dealership sales operations and staff
- Finance and insurance specialists – Guiding customers through auto financing and insurance
- Parts and accessories staff – Selling and advising on parts/accessories
Service Technician Roles
Common service jobs at repair shops, dealers, and other providers include:
- Mechanics – Repairing and maintaining vehicles
- Automotive body repairers – Fixing exterior damage from collisions
- Automotive glass installers – Replacing windshields and window glass
- Paint and collision technicians – Refinishing vehicle bodywork
- Service advisors – Liaising between customers and techs, writing repair estimates
Additional Automotive Opportunities
Beyond sales floors and service bays, the auto sector has openings such as:
- Detailers – Cleaning vehicle interiors and exteriors
- Tow truck drivers – Transporting damaged or disabled vehicles
- Automotive engineers – Designing new vehicles and technologies
- Inventory managers – Overseeing vehicle stock at dealerships
- Advertising and marketing – Promoting brands and models
Outlook for Job Seekers
For job seekers, the automobile industry provides diverse openings in fields from technical maintenance to customer sales. Dealerships in particular often have high turnover, leading to ample job openings. Growth in new car technologies will create roles related to electric, autonomous, and connected vehicles. Those with automotive training or certifications can be highly competitive applicants. Overall, the auto sector promises continually evolving career paths supported by American consumers’ enduring devotion to their vehicles.
What is the availability of entry-level jobs in consumer services?
The consumer services sector employs millions across industries like retail, food service, hospitality, and more. For those entering the job market or changing careers, how readily available are entry-level roles in consumer-facing fields?
Many consumer service jobs naturally function as entry-level roles given minimal barriers to access them. Common examples include:
- Sales associates
- Stocking and inventory clerks
- Customer service representatives
- Waiters and waitresses
- Fast food crew members
- Hosts and hostesses
- Housekeeping cleaners
- Front desk agents
- Recreation attendants
- Bellhops and luggage porters
- Shuttle drivers
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
- Rideshare drivers
- Valet parking attendants
Traits of Strong Entry-Level Candidates
Those best positioned to land consumer service entry-level jobs exhibit traits like:
- Basic literacy and math skills
- Ability to follow instructions
- Detail and customer service orientation
- Teamwork and communication abilities
- Technology/computer familiarity
- Positive attitude
- Reliability and punctuality
Many employers provide on-the-job training. Formal education requirements typically range from a high school diploma to an Associate’s degree at most.
These roles can serve as a springboard for picking up skills and advancing to higher positions such as:
- Shift supervisors
- Department leads
- Assistant store managers
- Kitchen managers
- Sales specialists
Experience gleaned in entry level jobs also helps build resumes when pivoting into new industries.
Current Hiring Climate
In the recovering post-pandemic economy, consumer service employers are eagerly hiring for open entry-level roles:
- Turnover is high, creating recurring openings
- Low unemployment makes candidates scarce
- Customers are returning faster than staffing levels
- Labor shortages most acute at lower ends of experience spectrum
This confluence makes the current climate ideal for those seeking to gain a foothold through entry-level consumer positions. Employers are motivated to hire and train.
Outlook for Job Seekers
Consumer service industries will continue relying on entry-level workers to deliver friendly and efficient customer experiences. Especially coming out of the pandemic’s disruptions, opportunities abound across sectors to start building skills and a career.
For job seekers new to the working world, these roles offer an easily accessible pathway to gain experience, income, and exposure to business operations. The experience attained becomes a valued resume builder, imparting transferable capabilities that apply across industries.
How has the growth in e-commerce affected job availability in retail and logistics?
The rapid expansion of e-commerce has profoundly disrupted traditional retail while creating new job opportunities in online selling, fulfillment, and delivery roles. What has been the net impact on job markets?
Rise of E-Commerce
The share of US retail sales transacted through e-commerce channels has soared over the past decade:
- As recently as 2012, e-commerce accounted for just 7% of total retail sales
- This share reached 14% by 2018 and continued climbing during the pandemic
- By Q1 2022, the e-commerce sales penetration reached 19% of total retail spending
Online leaders like Amazon continue capturing more consumer wallet share.
Jobs Lost in Traditional Retail
This ongoing shift online has led to job losses in brick-and-mortar retail:
- Department stores and specialty apparel chains have been hit especially hard
- Major retailers filing bankruptcy since 2015 have resulted in over 1 million job cuts
- Physical stores will likely keep closing as spending dollars migrate online
These store-based roles disappear or remain unfilled as e-commerce grows.
Fulfillment and Delivery Jobs Gained
However, the rise of e-commerce has created new jobs in fulfillment centers and delivery:
- Warehouse staff – Picking, packing, and shipping online orders
- Delivery drivers – Transporting e-commerce shipments on a contract basis
- Logistics planners – Managing supply chains and inventory for online orders
- Customer service reps – Providing support to online shoppers
- Web designers – Building user-friendly, high-converting e-commerce sites
Amazon alone has created over 400,000 jobs in the US since 2010 as its sales skyrocketed.
The Net Impact
Research suggests the job creation in online retail and logistics just offsets losses in brick-and-mortar stores:
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the net change in retail and logistics employment is approximately zero since 2007 as e-commerce has risen
- For every 2 jobs lost at stores, 1 new job has been gained in warehousing/delivery
- This equivalence may not persist forever, especially with automation looming in warehouses
Implications for Job Seekers
For retail job seekers, opportunities in fulfillment and e-commerce may only partially compensate for vanishing roles in physical stores. Other considerations:
- Adapt existing skills for omnichannel retail combining online and offline
- Consider training for high-demand digital roles: data analytics, web development
- Research if local industrial parks and warehouses offer employment
- Evaluate potential for entrepreneurship utilizing online sales/delivery platforms
The growth of e-commerce will keep disrupting traditional retail jobs but also creates new evolutions for savvy job seekers.
- The consumer services sector continues growing as a major employer, led by retail, food service, and hospitality industries.
- Millions of job openings are projected over the next decade across diverse consumer service occupations.
- Part-time and flexible jobs are widely available for those seeking customizable schedules.
- Entry-level roles provide accessible opportunities to gain experience and skills.
- Sales positions remain competitive but offer avenues for high earnings and advancement.
- E-commerce is transforming retail while creating new jobs in online selling, fulfillment, and delivery.
- Job seekers willing to adapt their skills have ample consumer service opportunities suitable for varied work preferences.
- Consumer service industries will continue driving job creation, especially in major sectors like retail, hospitality, and food services.
- Flexible and entry-level jobs abound for those seeking part-time work or looking to build careers from the ground up.
- The daily demands of large and growing customer populations ensure steady hiring demand across diverse service occupations.
- E-commerce expansion is reshaping retail while creating new roles in fulfillment and delivery.
- With adaptability and preparation, job seekers can discover rewarding careers interacting with the public across the spectrum of consumer service fields.