Shopping Season in Deschutes County

by Karla Castillo

December 6, 2017

Shopping season is here. Along with the holidays, comes the shopping. Every year, the retail sector gets a boost in sales, and in employment levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season is the day after Thanksgiving. Retail trade has a distinct seasonal pattern; businesses in the retail sector hire additional employees at the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The typical holiday season runs from October through December with employment gains in November and December. In Deschutes County, the total net job gains in the retail sector in 2016 were above the last 16-year average. The industries that added the most jobs during the holiday shopping season in 2016 were related to clothing and a wide array of products.
Store employment – specifically in clothing and clothing accessories stores; general merchandise stores; and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores –  in Deschutes County gained around 200 jobs from October to December in 2016. Despite being slightly below what they normally gain, these industries represented around 70 percent of all the gains in the retail industry. Most of the net gains in store employment occurred in general merchandise stores, which represent one of the largest industries in the retail sector. Even though sporting goods stores are small, they have increased their share of total store employment, surpassing the clothing and clothing accessories stores since 2013.

Other industries in the retail sector that have seasonal peaks, and that had gains above average, were furniture and home furnishing stores; health and personal care stores; and miscellaneous store retailers.

It is too early to determine how the 2017 shopping season will turn out. December numbers will be released at the end of January 2018. However, employment levels through June 2017 were about 6 percent higher than the previous year. While economic conditions continue to be favorable in Deschutes County with strong employment gains, strong wage growth and a GDP growth rate that’s among the fastest in the nation, consumer expenditures will likely remain strong.

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