While Montanans ponder the fate of one cornerstone industry, the very-near future seems bleak for another; KTVQ.com reports that department stores have lost more jobs than coal mines.  America’s love affair with shopping at malls and department stores may be nearing an end, as the years between 2001 and 2016, show jobs at department stores fell 46%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor– a much steeper drop than other troubled industries.  Coal mining jobs dropped 32% during the same 15 year period, and factory employment fell 25%.
Greg Portell, a retail consultant at A.T. Kearney, said the traditional mall– as we know it– is doomed.  Over 3,000 store closings have been announced so far in 2017.  That’s double the number in the same period in 2016, and perhaps the largest number of store closings since the Great Recession.