Retail drives the economy

March 16th, 2017 by Ken

By Jan Teague

President and CEO Washington Retail Association

Retailers employ more people than any other industry.   It also supports one in four other jobs.  When you add up those who work in some aspect of retail, the industry is worth understanding and protecting.

Nationwide 1.3 million non-retail jobs such as finance, insurance, real estate and manufacturing depend on a healthy retail industry.   It all adds up to 22 percent of the total Washington State employment.

An example of the level of detail where retailers have an impact is this story about a small business owner with a boutique.  She has to travel to various place to buy items and shoot photos.   Besides the non-retail jobs that support the industry, this retail business owner is contributing to hotels, restaurants and photographers in pursuit of owning a small boutique.

Retail jobs are diverse and include security, advertising, marketing, sales, management, arts and design workers.   Many people start their careers as a part-time sales clerk and work their way up to a store manager while working on obtaining a college-level degree.  Retailers believe the sky is the limit for professional growth in their industry.   People make of it what they want.

Nationwide 40 percent of retail employees work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.   The majority, 95 percent, operate at a single location.  Retailers in small towns, make those towns work.   They invested in their communities and on a a daily basis are contributing to local charities.  They love being the backbone of their community and understand the impact they have on the lives of their neighbors.

Retailers not only provide jobs, they often support a community’s revitalization.  Seattle is a good example of that.

It wasn’t many years ago when downtown Seattle was not a destination shopping area.   Now it is because retailers stayed instead of moving to the suburbs.  That revitalization has contributed significantly to the overall health of the city and to its tax base.

It’s good to remind our elected officials of retail’s role in our society.  There are various government and non-government groups with regulatory ambitions.   The rules they create often consist of a series of small knife cuts,  which eventually lead to the death of a business.

Do policy makers and elected officials give stronger support to those advocates who take the attitude that when one business goes out of a business – another business will just take its place.   Or, do our elected leaders look at these businesses as individual  citizens who are vital to the stability of their communities and should be encouraged to succeed?


Posted in Business, The Real News

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