From 2006 through 2016, injury and illness rates declined overall for private industry, including the wholesale and retail trade sectors. For its size, the WRT workforce experienced a disproportionately 5% higher burden or share of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. WRT is one of the largest economic sectors in the United States – even a small increase in the burden affects large numbers of workers, their families, employers, and communities.
National Employ Older Workers Week takes place the final week in September and recognizes the vital role of older workers [U.S. DOL 2019]. By 2020, workers aged 55 and over will likely make up about 25 percent of the U.S. workforce [BLS 2018]. Within the Wholesale and Retail Trade (WRT) Sector alone, in 2017 almost 4.5 million workers (more than 22 percent) are over age 55, up from 3.8 million workers in 2011 [BLS 2018].