Online retailer Amazon will create over 5000 part-time jobs over the next year in its Customer Virtual Service program. The program now in its 5th year attracts those needing the flexibility and convenience of working from home, appealing mainly to stay-at-home parents, military spouses, students, and those with disabilities.

US March employment numbers down by half

Amazon's latest announcement should also give Trump something to tweet about considering that March's employment numbers slumped to 96,000, down from the previous two months. According to The Guardian, economists had been predicting that March would bring in 180,000 jobs.

However, factors such as snowstorms on the east coast, Trump's recent order to freeze civilian government job hiring and a retail sector that appears to be floundering may have stalled job market growth.

Amazon killing traditional retailers?

Although Amazon is promising 30,000 part-time jobs for Americans, just in March over 30,000 jobs in retail were lost with big name stores announcing the shut down of their brick-and-mortar stores due to their inability to compete with online retailers such as Amazon. The trend of big box stores downsizing or filing for bankruptcy doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

In the past few months the following stores have or are planning to close:

  • Payless closed 400 locations in the US and Puerto Rico
  • JCPenney closed 140 in the US
  • Macy's closed 100 of 730 US establishments
  • Sears and KMart closing 150 US establishments
  • HHGregg closing 88 store locations and 3 distribution centers in the US
  • Abercrombie & Fitch closed 60 US stores
  • Guess closed 60 US locations
  • Crocs closing 160 US stores
  • American Apparel dropping 110 establishments
  • Radio Shack losing 552 locations
  • Staples letting go of 70 stores throughout North America

“The reality is that America has been overstored.

We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains,” said consumer expert Clark Howard on his nationally syndicated radio show. “But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.”

Nothing to worry about, say some economists

Other economists are not deterred by the March employment numbers.

PNC chief economist Gus Faucher told The Guardian, “Although job growth slowed in March, and was much weaker than expected, the labor market remains in good shape. Job growth this year is running close to last year’s pace, and is running well ahead of what is needed to keep up with labor force growth.”

What could be more frightening in the future is when Amazon Robots destroy retail jobs completely. It might not be on the near horizon yet but still a looming reality.