It's great news these days when a retailer expands, and the news that Dollar General is opening 625 new stores in three states, creating nearly 6,000 new jobs, is worthy of applause. Add to that news of Macy's expanding and adding positions at its online division and the best holiday sales results since before the recession, and the economy is starting to look up.
Or is it? Let's look at where the jobs are being added. Online retail sales rose 13% this holiday season, about triple the increase of sales in stores for the first time. At Macy's, online sales nearly doubled this year over last, so adding jobs there makes sense for the chain. But virtual sales don't stimulate the economy in the same way that physical stores do with their construction jobs and tiered positions at varying pay scales. Nor do they help contribute to the local tax base.For its part, Dollar General operates in smaller markets and economically depressed communities. Places where both jobs and the ability to buy the types of low-cost goods sold at Dollar General will be very welcome. It's possible to get a great majority of your household goods at dollar stores, but often, theses stores' very presence indicates a bad economy.
Retail jobs aren't exactly high-paying either. Non-union, often part-time and without benefits like health care or retirement savings plans, retail jobs are not the panacea the nation needs. Still it's growth in the right direction and driven by consumers return to spending. At least in the past fiscal quarter.
There are more retailers expanding in the beginning of this year. Notably, European imports like Top Shop, Zara and H&M are signing leases in the U.S. Job creation is critical and it's nice to see retail doing its part. Consider it forward momentum, with the higher paying benefits carrying jobs to come.
In the meantime, you can apply for one of those Dollar General jobs here.
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