Research Briefing | Nov 30, 2023

Warehousing sector losing steam across most US metros

After nearly doubling in size from 2017 through 2022, the warehousing and storage sector shed jobs over the last five quarters as the industry corrected for the slowdown in e-commerce spending growth. Job growth within the warehousing sector had been widespread as nearly every metro enjoyed job gains in 2020 through H1 2022. However, several metros are seeing a greater share of the warehousing job losses and those in other logistics-related sectors over the last year—more so than others.

What you will learn:

  • The warehousing sector had seen steady job growth prior to the pandemic, but the pace then soared in late 2020 through H1 2022 as the sector expanded to accommodate the sharp increase in demand for on-line shopping. Although e-commerce sales have increased nearly every quarter since its meteoric rise in Q2 2020, its share of retail sales fell from the Q2 2020 peak of 16.5%.
  • Only 14 of the largest 50 warehousing markets (ranked by warehousing jobs) show a job gain in the sector from Q2 2022 to Q3 2023. Metros that have continued to see job gains in warehousing include Richmond, Los Angeles, Harrisburg, Sacramento, and Chicago. Metros that have incurred the steepest job losses over the last five quarters include Memphis, New Haven, Nashville, Tucson, and Minneapolis.
  • We forecast that warehousing employment growth will hold at a low but positive rate over the next five years. Likewise, we forecast that recent trends in job changes by metro will persist for the next year or two as the sector slows in line with the overall deceleration in consumer spending growth.
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