retail news in context, analysis with attitude

From the Wall Street Journal:

"A persistent economic puzzle is why labor is still so tight amid slowing growth, high inflation and growing fears of recession.

"Gross domestic product growth slipped into negative territory in the first half of the year. Borrowing costs have risen steeply as the Federal Reserve boosts interest rates in an attempt to reduce inflation. Even so, monthly payrolls have grown an average of 438,000 from January through August, nearly three times their 2019 prepandemic pace.

Many employers say they continue to struggle with large staffing shortages that built up during the pandemic and are reluctant to cut head count. In many cases, they are still hiring."

According to the story, "Some economists say the scars of the past year’s shortages—including the huge expenses of hiring and recruiting, combined with high employee turnover—could leave companies more hesitant to lay off workers if the economy falls into a mild recession. They contend that companies never fully met their hiring needs during the recovery and that businesses will likely pull openings, which are at historic highs, before they resort to cutting jobs."

KC's View:

It is a fascinating challenge - as so much of the economy seem negative, employment seems immune to the trend.

I'd like to think that the whole notion of being essential has managed to gain some extended traction in the business, that retailers understand better the roles they play in their communities, and the roles that invested employees play in those relationships.

There will be an instinct to down-size whenever and wherever possible … but maybe "right-size," in a way that is consistent with strategy and tactics, with brand equity and a store's value proposition, ought to be the preferred term of art.