One of the largest industry employers in the United States has been steadily shedding thousands of jobs, even as unemployment numbers tick down.
The U.S. retail industry reported a loss of close to 30,000 jobs in March—and more than 60,000 retail jobs have been eliminated since January, CNBC reported.
The losses have been felt on both ends of the retail spectrum. Discount shoe store Payless announced this week that it will shutter 400 stores nationwide. Luxury store Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, announced it will close its flagship 5th Avenue Polo store.
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There are a number of factors that contribute to the job loss, experts say.
The rise of online sales, a surplus of retail space in the United States, the spending habits of the millennial generation, and the overall decline of the U.S. middle class all contribute to the loss of retail jobs, said Ken Perkins, founder of Retail Metrics.
"It's an industry that's in real flux," John Challenger, CEO of the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement firm, told CNBC.
CNBC also noted that the decline is not likely to stop soon. Traffic in U.S. malls has declined in every quarter except for one since 2014.
"I do think that there are more cuts to come here, particularly in the department store group," Challenger told CNBC.
And as these jobs evaporate, opportunities for first-time job seekers are also expected to decline.
“There are going to be fewer opportunities for entrance to the labor force and gaining valuable experience for teens and first time job seekers,” Perkins told NBC.