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The Geography of Ecommerce Industries

By / 6.11.2018

New data from the BLS allows us to assess the geographic winners and losers from the ecommerce boom, including jobs lost in brick-and-mortar retail. We calculate net job change by state since 2014 in the three ecommerce industries–electronic shopping, warehousing (fulfillment centers) and  couriers and messengers (local delivery).  We compare that to net job change by state since 2014 in brick-and-mortar retail– retail minus electronic shopping.  Ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail taken together comprise the “consumer distribution” sector.

Here are our findings:

  1. Since 2014, employment in the consumer distribution sector–including both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar–has risen in 47 out of 50 states.
  2. Measured in absolute terms, the biggest gains in consumer distribution employment came in California, Texas, and Florida.
  3. Measured in relative terms–as a share of 2017 private sector employment– the biggest gains in consumer distribution jobs came in Utah, Washington, Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee (Table 1).

 

Table 1 Change in Consumer Distribution Sector Jobs, 2014-2017
as a percent of 2017 private sector jobs thousands
Utah 1.7% 20.0
Washington 1.6% 44.2
Kentucky 1.4% 21.6
Georgia 1.4% 50.1
Tennessee 1.2% 29.1
Idaho 1.1% 6.8
Nevada 1.1% 13.4
Florida 1.1% 84.7
Texas 1.1% 112.3
Oregon 1.1% 17.6
Mississippi 1.0% 9.4
New Jersey 1.0% 35.9
South Carolina 1.0% 17.3
North Carolina 1.0% 37.2
Colorado 0.9% 20.5
Arizona 0.9% 21.1
California 0.9% 124.4
Indiana 0.8% 20.3
Minnesota 0.7% 16.5
Rhode Island 0.7% 2.8

Data: BLS QCEW, PPI

4. Now let’s focus on jobs in the ecommerce industries. Measured in absolute terms, the biggest gain in ecommerce industry jobs came in California, Texas, New Jersey, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Measured in relative terms–as a share of 2017 private employment–the ecommerce leaders from 2014 to 2017 were Washington, New Jersey, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.

5. The biggest loss of brick-and-mortar retail jobs in this period came in Pennsylvania and New York. But in both states, gains in ecommerce jobs were large enough to push the two states solidly into the black for this period.

6.  Nationally, workers in ecommerce industries earned an average of $49K  in 2017, including year-end bonuses, compared to $30K in brick-and-mortar retail and $55K for all private sector workers. That’s a 12% difference between ecommerce industry pay and average private sector pay.

7. Removing Washington and California from the data, workers in ecommerce industries in the rest of the country earned an average of $44.9K in 2017, compared to $29.7K in brick-and-mortar retail and $53.7K for all private sector workers.

8. In some states, such as Kentucky and Tennessee, average pay in ecommerce industries exceeds average pay for private sector workers overall. In both of these states, real pay in the ecommerce industries has risen since 2014.

9. We will extend this analysis to metro areas.