February 13, 2017

It seems all the talk lately is about jobs. How do we keep them? How do we create them?

Well it’s no secret that automation, technology, legislation and globalization came together to destroy middle class jobs in the U.S., with manufacturing jobs particularly hard hit.

President Trump recognized it. In fact, he won precisely because of those lost jobs and others’ inability to identify the situation.

It really came down to John Q Public and the rest of Main Street suffering while nobody seemed to care. Manufacturing occupies center stage currently, but two other industries also suffered greatly.

The first is the newspapers. From January 1990 until March 2016, the industry lost 271,800 jobs. That’s nearly 60 percent of the total workforce in 26 years!

Digital production methods and automation changed the game, hammering the industry head on. Suddenly, delivery people, press operators and the like weren’t needed. It wasn’t just newspapers that took the hit, either. Magazine publishing accounted for a 36 percent decline in employment.

The same forces that killed manufacturing jobs hit publishing too.

The other industry that tanked is department stores, and retail to a lesser extent generally. Big retail outlets were the kings in 2001, before the dot-com recessions. But that was the peak, as they have largely been dying for the last 16 years.

It isn’t just online shopping that’s eating into brick-and-mortar revenues. Weak overall sales and expensive infrastructure costs are forcing stores to close nationwide.

Recent cutbacks from Macy’s and Kohls don’t bode well for the industry’s prospects either. It seems as if the central place in the retail sector, the department store, is heading the way of the dinosaurs – to extinction.

Can President Trump help reverse the trend? Time will tell.