Tariffs are on, tariffs are off.  But it looks like they may be coming more on soon.  So far tariffs have been imposed only on things such as washing machines which now cost almost twice as much as pre-tariff.  But now tariffs are being imposed on some consumer goods – clothes and shoes for example.  A lot of shoes are made in China.  Some large department stores like Nordstrom and J.C. Penney (already in trouble) are reporting lower sales.  Dress Barn is closing all 650 of its stores and Payless will close all 2,600 of its stores in July.  And they are just two examples of what is happening in retail.

So just for a moment think about what this means for the economy.  By the end of July 3,250 stores in just two chains will be gone.  What it means is jobs, jobs, jobs that are going to be gone in a flash.  How many employees work at those two chains?  Service jobs, like much of retail, provide jobs for entry-level and low-wage workers – a great many of whom are women.

The economy is booming.  New job creation is strong.  But if a low-wage service industry employee is out of a job for a month or two while looking for a new job, before they find one there will probably be some things that they normally buy that they now cannot. Do you sell any of those “some things”?  You’d better look and if you do it could negatively impact your sales and earnings.  You might want to start to think about how you are going to deal with it if it happens.  There is a lot happening in the economy and probably sooner rather than later the strong economic growth that we have been experiencing is going to start slowing down.  It is becoming more and more important to be vigilant.

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