On January 25, Civic Economics and the American Booksellers Association released a groundbreaking new study, “Amazon and Empty Storefronts,” which details the overall negative impact that Amazon has had on Main Street retailers and jobs, and the communities in which they are located, across the country.
As Internet sales have risen unabated in recent years, little attention has been paid to the effects of that growth on American communities. Focusing on the industry leader, Amazon, the study looks at calendar year 2014, the last year for which good data is available. Online sales have, of course, only grown since then.
ESSENTIAL NATIONAL FINDINGS
In 2014, Amazon sold $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $625 million in state and local sales taxes.
That is the equivalent of 30,000 retail storefronts, 107 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $420 million in property taxes.
A total of more than $1 billion in revenue lost to state and local governments, $8.48 for every household in America.
Amazon also operated 65 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 30,000 full-time workers and 104,000 part-time and seasonal workers.
Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs.
In one of Richard Scarry’s Busy Town books, there is a story called, “Everyone is a Worker”. The farmer sells to the grocer, then buys a suit from the tailor and a tractor from the blacksmith. They in turn buy food from the grocer and so on. My son and I both like this story a lot.