The retail industry has always been horrific to work in, with store employees having to deal with grumpy, dissatisfied customers with pleasantry as their feet ready to give out from standing all day.
With retail in turmoil - retailers have announced more store closures this year so far than in all of 2016 - "adequate" workers in the unstable industry are becoming few and far between, Wolfe Research analysts Scott Mushkin, Michael Otway, Cody Ross and Benedict Shim said in a research note on Monday.
Wolfe's analysts said that they are starting to notice a decline in staff at giant retailers in Houston, including Walmart (WMT - Get Report) , Kroger (KR - Get Report) , Target (TGT - Get Report) and especially at dollar stores like Dollar General (DG - Get Report) , and the impact it's having on stores is disconcerting.
"Execution across retailers was wanting even for good operators like Kroger," the Wolfe analysts said in the note. "Significant out-of-stocks were evident in the frozen and dry grocery areas at the supermarkets and Target while fresh food was largely the issue at Walmart."
In April, the retail industry added a meager 6,300 jobs after losing 27,000 positions in March and seeing 31,000 jobs vanish in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meanwhile, using former Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Steve Ballmer's newly launched website USAFacts, TheStreet found that the average retail worker made $21,800 in 2015 compared to 2005 when the average annual salary was $23,200.
Wolfe's analysts estimated that with the rising cost of wages in the U.S., retailers, even those performing better than most of their peers, are cutting labor costs to make a profit. But, the firm warned that "this can compound the sales problems over time."
"Our experience with Walmart's produce area over the last several months is that the lighting and layouts give a much more inviting feel, but the stocking levels remain below what we believe is optimal," Wolfe's Mushkin, Otway, Ross and Shim said in the note. "Some quality issues remain as well and this was evident with the green peppers on this visit."
Still, Wolfe found that "dollar stores stood out on the negative side," explaining that "in speaking with employees, it seemed that finding/retaining labor was an issue."