Retail left behind as San Diego job market zooms

San Diego County's unemployment rate is at its lowest in around 17 years, but one industry is still cutting jobs.

New numbers from the state show that the county's retail industry lost 1,200 jobs over the last year, when every other sector in the county is growing.

The news comes as Amazon announced it had its busiest holiday season to date, selling millions of its electronics to customers around the world. 

Amberly Grant, who visited Horton Plaza on Tuesday, said she's noticed the difference.

"Fewer employees, the selections online are normally larger, so they have stuff in stores, but a lot of times you are directed to find the item you're looking for," she said. 

The County's jobless rate is now 3.3 percent, but there are still 51,500 unemployed people, according to the state Employment Development Department.

There are, however, a growing number of job training programs and free courses, many held out of the county's Metro Career Centers. You can find a calendar of classes here

There are also on the job training programs, which will pay you as you retrain for a new field. 

Peter Callstrom, who runs the San Diego Workforce Partnership, said one challenge is exposing people to sectors outside of retail. He said some of the skills could translate into a job at in the health care industry, with some extra training, for instance. 

Grant says she's looking forward to seeing how malls evolve as more people continue to shop online. Westfield UTC, for instance, recently expanded with office space and is now building luxury apartments on site

 

 

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