Retailers are Shedding Jobs Like Crazy. Here’s What to Do If You Lose Yours

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A lot of us worry that robots will steal our jobs (just try it, HAL).  

The way retail industry is going, however, there won’t be any retail jobs left for robots to swipe.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the retail industry lost 30,000 jobs in March and a total of 89,000 since October 2016.

From department stores like JCPenney and Macy’s to smaller retail chains like Rue21 and Wet Seal, more than 3,000 major retail stores are expected to close this year.

Around 16 million American workers staff shops, boutiques and general merchandise stores, so a dip in retail job availability has far reaching consequences.

“Some economists say this is how the market is supposed to work,” says the New York Times. “After the recession, retail hiring was a big driver of the recovery. But now that the economy is stronger, retail workers theoretically should be pushed out into potentially higher paying jobs that offer more chances to create wealth.”

That sounds good in theory, but what does that look like in practice for jobless retail workers with bills to pay?

I’m glad you asked.

What to Do If You Lose Your Retail Job

If you lose your retail job, don’t panic. You got this.

First, check the news to see if the retailer is filing for bankruptcy. If so, you may be entitled to wages and benefit payouts. Consumerist has the scoop on what to do if your retail employer is filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Next, you need to make some cheddar to cover your bills. Here are five ways to bring in cash until you land a new gig.

1. Apply for a work-from-home customer service job with companies like Amazon or Cigna.

2. Keep an eye out for seasonal retail jobs. You never know when a temporary gig could become permanent.

3. Scratch your itch to help people by freelancing for

4. Think about ways to take your retail experience to the next level by applying for higher-paying retail positions.

5. Ditch the retail industry altogether and consider a career in one of theses 13 high-salary jobs instead.  

While you’re waiting for your dream job to come along, check out these legitimate ways to make money from home.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. If she ever needs a retail jobs she’s heading straight for Sephora.