Retail job growth takes a big leap in Seattle

The city of Seattle added 5,500 retail jobs to its local economy within the past year, the second highest gain in the United States.

According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , Seattle was only beat by Dallas Fort-Worth, after it reportedly added 6,100 retail jobs within the same time period.

Though no explicit conclusions were made in relation to the implied strength of the local economies, the numbers seem to coincide with areas that have fared well (or at least better than) other parts of the country in terms of recovering from the recession. Heavily saturated with tech-industry opportunities, Seattle has been able to maintain a somewhat more stable economy in recent years in comparison to other parts of the United States. In the same way, Dallas has been recognized for mining and manufacturing as well as a strong tourism industry, all of which lead to revenue that directly impacts retail sales.

So does this mean the economy is finally turning around? Not yet. And definitely not for everyone.

The San Francisco-Oakland area lost 5,900 retail jobs since August 2010, as did Detroit (4,700 jobs lost), Atlanta (4,300 jobs lost) and Los Angeles (3,500 jobs lost). Again, the numbers seem to have a strong correlation with metropolitan areas that continue to struggle, especially in California where the state’s attorney general recently withdrew from negotiations for a multi-state bank settlement that would prevent a large number of pending foreclosures.

The strong retail job growth in Seattle, Bellevue, Snohomish and elsewhere around the Puget Sound is welcome news as large retailers are considering or have already decided to pare down their seasonal staff for the upcoming holiday shopping season, attempting to compensate for lower-than-expected sales throughout 2011.

And in some cases, the cuts are dramatic.

Best Buy – the world’s largest consumer electronics chain – recently announced a holiday staffing reduction of 50 percent compared to 2010, a loss of nearly 14,000 jobs that is sure to impact workers here in Washington state and throughout the country.

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