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Is Michael's an essential business? Here's what its hiring and social media data say

1 week ago by Jared Russo in Retail

Several retail stores are trying to remain open amidst the Coronavirus outbreak by claiming they sell "essential" items, and most of them have questionable arguments as to whether they're really selling vital goods during a global pandemic. Michael's ($NASDAQ:MIK) maintains that its stores have to stay open because they're selling arts and crafts supplies to children as they go to school at home.

Much has been written about forcing employees to work through Covid-19, whether low-wage employees want to come in or have to in order to pay rent, and if Michael's really is essential compared to grocery stores at this time. So when push comes to shove, what will happen to all Michael's stores, all Michael's employees, and how it's perceived on social media?

Michael's suffered what looks like massive layoffs back in December and January, but in reality, it was simply LinkedIn purging older and inaccurate accounts. The company keeps hiring, hitting a 6K staff count in the last two years. 

Facebook data also shines a light on people's feelings towards the chain, and both likes and 'Were Here' count have leveled off in the past six months, slowing down considerably in recent weeks as people opt to order their supplies online. Why take the risk of going to a crowded store when you don't have to? That leaves the following stores (mapped below) to deal with some tangible and existential questions as retailers everywhere struggle with the same questions: What do we do with our employees? Do we remain open, and for how long? Is the health of our workforce more important than the health of our company?

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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