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    Retail Jobs Slashed

    The retail sector lost 522,000 jobs last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    NEW YORK -- Major cutbacks have severely impacted the retail job market and the 15 million Americans who rely on it as their income, according to a report by CNNMoney.com.

    Some of the big-name retailers that made drastic cuts so far this year include Circuit City at 30,000 jobs lost; and Macy's, Liz Claiborne, Pier 1 Imports and Talbots -- together slashing about 8,000 jobs.

    Last year, retail lost 522,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    "There's an at-risk factor," Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman from the National Retail Federation, told CNNMoney.com. "If companies aren't making sales projections they're going to cut operating costs," she said, which often means laying off workers.

    The implications on workers in the struggling industry are great. Full- and part-time jobs in the retail sector have not only served as a career for some, but also a safety net for others. From college kids to cash-strapped consumers, the retail job market has traditionally been well suited for temporary workers, and a fallback for unemployed workers from other industries looking for a refuge, CNNMoney.com reported.

    While retailers are cautious about hiring, there are still jobs out there for the more persistent applicants.

    "Certainly times are different now then they've been in the past," said Ben Jablow, managing director of WorkInRetail.com. More retailers are adopting a "wait and see approach" when it comes to hiring, he told CNNMoney.com.

    With consumers cutting back and the industry contracting, competition among remaining retailers is gaining momentum. "What we are seeing is a real move to improve the customer experience," Jablow stated. And that means that retailers are aiming to "bring in the best talent that they can to separate themselves from their competition," he said, adding this could be good news for more experienced retail workers looking for employment.

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