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As the economy continues to sputter toward what a greater number of folks can truly recognize in their own pocketbooks as a recovery, it seems that grocers continue to be a reliable source of employment in the United States.
While it's true that industry consolidations and store closings have resulted in job cuts, the food retailing game remains an ideal ground floor for eager go-getters to build careers and become grocery's next generation of leaders.
The Kroger Co. just announced that its total active workforce grew by more than 7,000 positions during fiscal year 2013, with about nine out of 10 new jobs in the Cincinnati-based company's supermarket divisions.
"Our associates have the extraordinary opportunity to make a difference for the more than 8 million customers who visit our stores each day," said Katy Barclay, Kroger's SVP of human resources. "We are proud that Kroger's growth has created 40,000 new American jobs during the last six years. New jobs mean new opportunities for our associates and greater economic impact in the local communities we serve."
Kroger notes that its figures don't include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor does it include the 25,000 associates at Harris Teeter who came into the Kroger fold when their merger was consummated earlier this year. In all, Kroger today employs more than 375,000 associates.
A People Business
As PG noted when profiling the grocer as its 2013 Retailer of the Year, Kroger is particularly committed to the development of human capital, assessing new hires' career aspirations early on and nurturing their growth as leaders within the company.
Further, Kroger has hired more than 22,000 veterans since 2009, helping the "100,000 Jobs Mission" - a coalition of more than 130 companies with the common goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020 - surpass its original goal in January, seven years early.
Grocers in almost every community continue to be the place where many teenagers get their first jobs - some returning seasonally to bag groceries, others using it as an entry point to a lifelong career. From national chains to independent operators, grocery stores are the lifeblood of many communities, providing employment, community outreach and social gathering places.
The grocery industry should be proud of its efforts to benefit the greater good -- and watch for PG's March 2014 issue, in which we'll detail many of the ways food retailers make their communities and the world a better place in which to live.