Alana Semuels, writing at The Atlantic:
The retail closures are affecting regions that already have their fair share of economic problems. These are places where many factories and businesses have already shut down, and where consumers have less money to spend than they used to. Springfield, where the Upper Valley Mall is located, saw its median incomes shrink more than anywhere else in the country, falling 27 percent between 1994 and 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. Many manufacturing jobs have been automated, and the new jobs that have come in are lower-paying ones in call centers and in retail, according to Springfield’s mayor, Warren Copeland. That hurts the city, which charges its own local income tax. “If retail starts going away, that’s a new hit. That’s a serious threat that we recognize,” he said.