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Employment growth and wages in e-commerce.

Online shopping can make gift giving easier. That's thanks, in part, to the hundreds of thousands of e-commerce workers who help to fill orders--not just during the holidays, but year round.

E-commerce workers are employed in the electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of those workers is growing: From December 1997 to December 2016, employment in electronic shopping and mail-order houses increased by nearly 80 percent. (See chart.) BLS projects that employment in this industry will continue to rise, reaching almost 450,000 jobs by 2026.

Which occupations are expected to add jobs in the industry in the coming decade? Employment is projected to increase in occupations that have tasks such as taking and filling orders, packing boxes, and creating websites. As the table shows, customer service representatives is the occupation expected to have more new jobs than any other through 2026 in electronic shopping and mail-order houses.

Wages and typical entry-level education requirements for these occupations vary. For example, applications software developers had the highest median wage in the industry among the occupations shown: $99,260, more than twice the $37,690 median wage for all workers in 2017; in contrast, retail sales workers made $24,280 annually at the median, well below the median wage for all workers. Entry-level requirements for occupations in the table range from a bachelor's degree to no formal educational credential.

These data do not include self-employed workers. But data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of businesses with no paid employees nearly doubled in the electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry over a decade, from 77,022 establishments in 2006 to 150,595 in 2016. Most of these establishments were self-employed people operating small, unincorporated businesses.

Industry employment data from 1997 to 2016 are from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program. Industry and occupational projections data are from the BLS Employment Projections program.

You can learn more about the occupations mentioned here, as well as hundreds of others, in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).

For the latest Nonemployer Statistics, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website.

Elka Torpey | December 2018

Elka Torpey is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS. She can be reached at


Elka Torpey, "Employment growth and wages in e-commerce," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2018.
Table 1. Selected occupations projected to add jabs in electronic
shopping and mail-order houses, 2016-26

Employment, 2016 and projected 2016-26; median annual wage, 2017; and
typical entry-level

                                     New jobs,    annual        Typical
                        Employment,  projected     wage,    entry-level
            Occupation         2016    2016-26      2017      education

      Customer service       52,500      8,300   $30,280    High school
       representatives                                          diploma
                                                          or equivalent
             Shipping,       26,900      6,000    28,610    High school
        receiving, and                                          diploma
        traffic clerks                                    or equivalent
         Stock clerics       16,500      4,700    25,880    High school
     and order fillers                                          diploma
                                                          or equivalent
                Retail       16,200      4,600    24,280      No formal
          salespersons                                      educational
           Packers and       15,600      4,500    24,440      No formal
       packagers, hand                                      educational
          Laborers and       14,600      4,200    30,330      No formal
   freight, stock, and                                      educational
 material movers, hand                                       credential
       Market research        7,700      3,200    57,110     Bachelor's
analysts and marketing                                           degree
          Order clerks       19,600      3,100    30,140    High school
                                                          or equivalent
General and operations        8,100      2,300    92,800     Bachelor's
              managers                                           degree
  Software developers,        4,900      2,000    99,260     Bachelor's
          applications                                           degree
        Web developers        4,300      1,200    64,190    Associate's
        Light truck or        3,200        900    34,180    High school
     delivery services                                          diploma
               drivers                                    or equivalent

            Occupation     training

      Customer service   Short-term
       representatives   on-the-job
             Shipping,   Short-term
        receiving, and   on-the-job
        traffic clerks     training
         Stock clerics   Short-term
     and order fillers   on-the-job
                Retail   Short-term
          salespersons   on-the-job
           Packers and   Short-term
       packagers, hand   on-the-job
          Laborers and   Short-term
   freight, stock, and   on-the-job
 material movers, hand     training
       Market research         None
analysts and marketing
          Order clerks   Short-term
General and operations         None
  Software developers,         None
        Web developers         None

        Light truck or   Short-term
     delivery services   on-the-job
               drivers     training

Note: Employment and wage data do not include self-employed workers.
None of these occupations typically requires work experience in a
related occupation for entry, except general and operations managers,
which typically needs 5 years or more of experience.

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational
Statistics and Employment Projections.
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Author:Torpey, Elka
Publication:Career Outlook
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2018
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