The End of Full-Time Work in the American Retail Service Sector

My new Forbes article is up, and it is on my favorite under-reported story, the end of full-time work in the American retail sector

I don’t generally publish end-of-year predictions, mainly because I usually am wrong (a failing that does not seem to prevent any number of others from doing so, however).  But last year I made an exception when I predicted that the biggest economic story of 2013 would be the death of the full-time job in the American retail service sector.

But this was not really an exception to my rule about predictions, because this was not really a prediction at all, at least in the sense that a “prediction” is an educated guess of some future uncertain event occurring.  Late last year, within the service world, this change was already occurring – at restaurants, at hotels, and in retail stores, managers were already formulating plans.  In a large sense, by making this prediction, I was betting on the score of a game that had already been played — all we are doing now is waiting for the media to catch up and report the results to the public at large....

The tree fell in the forest months ago, but it is only just now being heard.

Sorry, link was broken, now fixed


  1. Tom Kelly:

    This means people get to work 60 hours a week instead of 40- 30 at each job just to survive.

  2. SamWah:

    Kinda like the Kermit Gosnell story, but without the dead babies.

  3. Uncle Bill:

    I was recently in a casual restaurant in Florida. The owner/manager came to our table to see how things were, and while he was there a young woman came up to ask about getting a job. He replied that he was always looking for people, because it was so hard to keep good staff, but she would have to be willing to work 50-60 hours a week.

    After she left, I expressed surprise that he wanted someone to work so many hours. He explained that the Obamacare provisions didn't kick in until he hit 50 employees. I said, "So I guess you won't be exceeding 50 employees any time soon.."

    He replied, "There is no way in hell I will be going above 50 employees. I'll do anything it takes to avoid that."

    The flip side of the Obamacare provisions.

  4. Noumenon72:

    It's an interesting example of how the government doesn't have as much power as it appears because decisions about planning and investment are made by corporate management. Good article -- I believe it's actually happening, and sounds like something anyone would do rather than just because they were ideologically anti-Obamacare.