More Jobs and Stores, Dollar General and Macy's Expand

Shoppers outside Macy's
Shoppers outside Macy's

It's great news these days when a retailer expands, and the news that Dollar General is opening 625 new stores in three states, creating nearly 6,000 new jobs, is worthy of applause. Add to that news of Macy's expanding and adding positions at its online division and the best holiday sales results since before the recession, and the economy is starting to look up.

Or is it? Let's look at where the jobs are being added. Online retail sales rose 13% this holiday season, about triple the increase of sales in stores for the first time. At Macy's, online sales nearly doubled this year over last, so adding jobs there makes sense for the chain. But virtual sales don't stimulate the economy in the same way that physical stores do with their construction jobs and tiered positions at varying pay scales. Nor do they help contribute to the local tax base.