The downtown Minneapolis Macy's.
The downtown Minneapolis Macy’s building is just one local retailer to close recently.

The job losses suffered by coal miners often take the forefront in discussions of the U.S. economy.

These job cuts have been devastating to many cities and towns, and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made that a major talking point in last year’s presidential campaign.

But that narrative misses something big: Department stores have lost 18 times more workers than coal mining since 2001. And they’ve shed nearly 100,000 jobs since October.

So, why doesn’t the decline in retail jobs get the same political attention as coal jobs?

Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic where he writes about economics and labor markets, has some ideas.

• Coal mining jobs are clustered. Thompson said 60 percent of coal mining jobs are in just four states: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Wyoming. Retail is spread across…