The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Employment Dampens Recovery View

Most distribution sectors still below prerecession employment levels.

Employment is still the measure that's holding back the feeling of recovery for many people. While sales levels have returned to or exceeded prerecession levels in 14 of 19 key wholesale distribution sectors, only four sectors have regained prerecession employment levels, according to Brian Lewandowski, associate director at the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, in MDM's 2015 Mid-Year Economic Update.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, only three sectors recorded year-over-year job losses – miscellaneous durable goods, pharmaceutical and other consumer products. The largest gains were seen in the building materials and construction and oil and gas sectors.

Overall, the unemployment and underemployment rates are declining, but increases in productivity have contributed to being able to do more with fewer people. And that's changing the industry's employment dynamic.

While some productivity gains may be temporary – employees simply working harder could lead to burnout and attrition – others, particularly those that have resulted from new technologies or processes, may be permanent. When's the last time you talked to a telephone operator?

View the 2015 Mid-Year Economic Update, featuring highlights from the 2015 Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution, by clicking here. Or order the Webcast DVD to share with your team.

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