Announced Holiday Hiring Puts 200,000 To Work

A flurry of announcements touting significant holiday hiring plans provides some much-needed hope to those seeking temporary, seasonal employment this year.

Over the past two weeks, a handful of employers announced seasonal hiring plans that will add a total of 200,000 workers to their collective payrolls, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement firm that tracks job-cut and hiring announcements. The holiday hirers included Toys R Us, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and UPS.

The announcements came at the onset of the 2010 holiday hiring season, which Challenger expects to be better than 2009, though not as strong as the pre-recession year of 2007.

Last year, retail payrolls experienced a net gain of 501,400 workers in October, November and December, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was a 54 percent increase from 2008, when holiday hiring fell to a 22-year low of 324,900.

“This year we expect to see further gains in seasonal hiring, but it probably will not achieve the levels we saw in 2006 or 2007 when retailers’ holiday payrolls grew by 746,800 and 720,800, respectively. Consumer spending is still well below pre-recession levels, so retailers and other sectors adding workers will be careful not to over-hire,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

While the holiday hiring outlook focuses on retailers, Challenger is quick to point out that they are not the only employers adding seasonal workers. This is evidenced by the fact that UPS announced plans to hiring 50,000 workers to help meet increased holiday demand.

“Opportunities also exist in areas such as food service, hospitality and leisure. Job seekers also should not limit their searches to the biggest employers. Toys R Us will undoubtedly be swamped with applicants, making it extremely competitive. Meanwhile small, mom-and-pop toy stores may be overlooked,” said Challenger.

MAJOR HOLIDAY HIRING ANNOUNCEMENTS TO DATE

9/23/10 Macy’s 65,000

9/28/10 Toys R Us 45,000

10/6/10 Kohl’s 40,000

10/6/10 UPS 50,000

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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