LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — While concerns over the strike have been looming for months, experts said it might have caused retail sales to plummet statewide.
It’s been more than a week since some UAW members walked off the job but it’s something workers have be preparing for.
“It’s definitely going to be rough for us,” striking UAW member Jason Elston said. “I definitely worked a lot of overtime to save up for this and now everyone’s feeling the crunch on how much money we can spend.”
Officials with the Michigan Retailers Association said this might be the culprit of why shoppers haven’t been out as much.
“We have multiple active strikes going on and with that, families have battened down the hatches,” said Andrea Bitely, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Michigan Retailers Association. “They’re not out there spending the way they used to in this economy. When someone’s only earning $500 a week on strike pay, they’re not going to be out spending money on retail goods and services.”
She said numbers show that August 2023 sales dropped for the second straight month and added that 59% of retailers surveyed noted a decrease over July, just 29% reported a sales increase, and 15% reported no change.
“August saw sales levels that were unprecedented this year and haven’t been this low since May of 2020,” Bitely added.
One business owner in Lansing said certain instances will typically cause chain reactions and encourages people to shop local.
“I think that fear always plays a role in the economy,” owner of Mother & Earth Baby Boutique Lynn Ross said. “I think there’s the fear of recession, the fear of what the future holds, the fear of automakers being on strike and I think that people prepare in different ways.”
But there is optimism with the holiday shopping season quickly approaching. 46% of retailers estimate their sales will continue to rise through November.