Holiday Hiring Update: October Seasonal Hiring Best Since 1999

Holiday hiring got off to its strongest start in 14 years, as retail employment grew by 159,500* in October, according to an analysis of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The 159,500 net new jobs in retail last month marks a 6.7 percent increase from October 2012, when retailers increased their payrolls by 149,400.   It was the most new hires in the first month of the annual holiday hiring period since 1999, when retail employment expanded by 172,200 in October.

The strong start bodes well for a holiday hiring season that stretches from October through December, with the heaviest retail workforce additions, typically occurring in November.  Last year, the three-month hiring period resulted in 751,800 new jobs being added by retailers; the most since 2000, when retailers added 788,200 workers during the final three months of the year.

Last year’s holiday hiring binge brought retail employment in the sector to 15,538,300 in December, the month in which retail employment generally reaches its annual peak. That was the highest number of retail workers in December, since 2007, when employment reached 16,156,400.

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More Americans Quitting Their Jobs, Could Indicate Increased Confidence

REMINDER: The monthly job-cut report originally scheduled for today (October 31) is rescheduled for release on Wednesday, November 6, at 7:30am E.T.

While hiring remains subdued throughout most of the country, the latest government data show that the number of American voluntarily leaving their employers is on the rise, which, according to one employment authority, suggests that the job market is indeed improving along with job seeker confidence.

“Quit levels offer important clues about the strength of the job market.  While the government survey does not break out the reasons for these voluntary departures, the rising number of individuals willing to walk away from a job suggests that more are being lured away by other employers or that they are confident enough in their job prospects that they can leave before securing a new position,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, released monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports that of the 4,376,000 separations recorded in August, approximately 2,364,000, or just over half (54 percent), were individuals voluntarily quitting their jobs.  That was up from 2,342,000 in July and nearly 11 percent higher than the 2,139,000 job quitters recorded in August 2012.

The number of job quitters has been steadily rising since falling to a recession-low of 1,601,000 in September 2009.  In 2011, an average of 1,941,000 Americans quit their jobs each month.  By the end of 2012, the average was up to about 2,100,000 quits per month.  Through the first eight months of 2013, quit levels are averaging, 2,247,000 per month.

“The current average remains significantly below the 2,935,000 quits per month averaged over the 24-month period leading up to the recession, but it is definitely trending in the upward direction.  Meanwhile, the number of layoffs and other involuntary separations, such as being fired for cause, has been on the decline since mid-2010.  While, no one probably ever feels 100-percent secure in his or her job, these trends certainly indicate that Americans can feel more confident about their job security now versus two years ago,” said Challenger.


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  Continue reading

Employers, Workers Face Challenges From Delayed Retirements

A just-released survey showing that more Americans age 50 and older plan to delay retirement presents some unique challenges to the nation’s employers.  In one respect, companies will benefit from these workers’ knowledge and experience, according to workplace authority John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global consultancy providing job search training and career coaching.  “In an era when employers are turning increasingly toward contingent or contract workers, having a stable of seasoned veterans on the payroll is vital to maintaining corporate memory.  However, there are issues related to managing a multi-generational workforce with which to contend, including the fact that these different age groups generally tend to be motivated by different factors,” said Challenger. Employers also have to be aware of the pitfalls associated with having an aging workforce that does not retire and make room for younger workers to advance within the organization.  “It is critical to have a strategy for the continued development and advancement of young talent.  If they feel like they are being held back or that they are not being challenged, they will become disengaged and either take their skills elsewhere or, worse, stick around doing the bare minimum when it comes to the quantity and quality of their output,” Challenger warned.  How should employers prepare for an aging workforce that plans to further delay retirement?  What can younger workers do to ensure they are able to advance their careers? What can older workers do to improve their chances of finding and keeping a job?

Retailers Opening Thanksgiving Day

In our annual holiday hiring forecast, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicted holiday hiring to remain flat or decline slightly from last year’s record levels.  However, even with a slight decline in overall hiring, national retail chains are expected to hire tens of thousands of seasonal workers across the country.  Indeed, retailers so far have announced plans to hire 444,000 seasonal workers, according to initial tracking by Challenger.  Much of this hiring will occur over the next three to four weeks, so that retailers have workers in place for the all-important Black Friday sales.  Some retailers have moved up Black Friday shopping from early Friday morning to late Thanksgiving Thursday night.  “Among those starting sales on Thanksgiving Day is Macy’s, which is planning to hire the most seasonal workers so far this year, with 83,000, and announced some of its stores would open at 8p.m. Thanksgiving Day.  While there was some public criticism of earlier and earlier sales, the outcry obviously did not translate to decreased traffic or else Macy’s and others that are sure to make similar announcements in the coming weeks would not be doing it again this year,” said John Challenger. “The early opening will only increase the need for temporary seasonal workers, who are likely to be the ones stuck working on Thanksgiving Day, as those with more seniority tend to get first-preference when it comes to assigning holiday hours,” noted Challenger.  Will other retailers join Macy’s in opening on Thanksgiving Day?  How might early openings impact retail employment?  What can those seeking holiday jobs do to improve their chances of finding employment?











Toys R Us










eBay (Louisville, KY)


Eddie Bauer (Columbus, OH)


eBay (Eau Claire, WI)


UPDATE: 2013 Holiday Hiring May Struggle To Match Last Year’s 12-Year High

Updated with locations of hiring announcements, clarification of BLS data.

While retail holiday hiring hit a 12-year high in 2012, shaky consumer confidence and increased efficiencies among retailers may prevent seasonal employment gains from reaching such lofty heights this year, according to an outlook released Monday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In its annual holiday hiring forecast, Challenger estimated that seasonal job gains will not see a significant decline from last year’s robust numbers, but they are likely to at best match the level of hiring that occurred in October, November, and December 2012.  With many retailers already starting holiday-themed ads and breaking out Christmas decorations in stores, those hoping to get in on the seasonal hiring push should act early.

In 2012, retail employment increased by a non-seasonally-adjusted 751,800 between October 1 and December 31.  That was the heaviest holiday hiring binge since 2000, when retailers added 788,200 to their payrolls during the final three months of the year.  The 2012 holiday hiring total was up 11 percent from the previous year, when 679,300 extra seasonal workers were hired. Continue reading

Teen Summer Jobs Update: Hiring Slips In June

Teen hiring got off to its strongest start in seven years in 2013, but heavy employment gains in May appear to have caused employers to pull back slightly in June.  However, with 994,000 16- to -19-year-olds finding seasonal positions so far this summer, it is still possible that teen hiring could outpace 2012, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

A Challenger analysis of just-released government employment data found that employers added 215,000 teenagers to their payrolls in May.  That is the largest number of teens hired in May since 2006, when employment among 16- to 19-year-olds expanded by 230,000 in the first month of the summer hiring season.

The latest non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that another 779,000 teens found employment in June.  That was down from June 2012, when teen employment grew by 858,000.  Overall, the 994,000 teens finding jobs so far this summer is down 2.1 percent from the 1,015,000 teen job winners in May and June of last year. Continue reading

Bulletin: Youth, Long Term Jobless Biggest Obstacles To Recovery

The latest employment report revealed a job market that is most definitely improving.  That is, unless you are under the age of 20 or you have been out of work for more than six months.  Youth and long-term unemployment are not only inflating the unemployment rate, but they are a drag on the economic recovery.  According to an unpublished table of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,488,000 Americans in April have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.  Of those, more than 3,000,000 (3,085,000) have been jobless for a year or longer.  “This prolonged unemployment takes a significant toll on the economy, not only in lost spending, but in lost tax revenue.  If politicians are truly concerned about reigniting the economy and fixing the deficit, getting these people back on payrolls should be the top priority,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  Meanwhile, 16- to 19-year-olds represent less than 4 percent of the civilian labor force, but they account for nearly 12 percent of the unemployed.  “Teenagers typically earn less, but they are more likely to spend a greater portion of their earnings on food, clothes, entertainment, etc.  Ironically, these are the same areas that usually provide teenagers with the most job opportunities.  Unfortunately, due to slow job growth in higher-skilled, higher-paying occupations, the jobs that would normally be filled by teens are being filled by recent college graduates, stay-at-home mothers returning to the workforce, and seniors,” said Challenger.  What can policymakers do to get long-term unemployment back on payrolls?  What can long-term unemployed do to re-ignite job search?  How does the summer job market look for teenagers and what can they do to find these seasonal opportunities?

More Opportunities for Teens This Summer

More opportunities for teens this summer if they get off the computer and in front of employers.

Continued employment gains across the economy, but particularly in lower-skilled, lower-paying hourly wage categories, are expected to benefit teenagers seeking jobs this summer, according to a new outlook released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

While job-seeking teens are likely to face competition from recent college graduates, as well as those at the opposite end of the age spectrum, employment gains for 16- to 19-year-olds in May, June and July should surpass last year’s levels.

“There will definitely be more opportunities for teenagers seeking employment this summer.  Of course, it is still a competitive environment.  So, teens should not expect employers to come knocking on their door.  The search will require maximum effort, starting now, in order to have a position lined up before the school year ends,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Get the full outlook here.