Holiday Hiring Update: November Hiring Strongest Since 2007

Holiday retail hiring, which remained flat in October, surged last month as employment in the sector increased by 423,500 in November*.  That is the largest November employment gain since 465,400 workers were added in 2007, according to the latest analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The 423,500 seasonal workers added to retail payrolls last month was up 27 percent from a year ago, when retail employment grew by 332,700 in November.  It is nearly double the 213,500 retail workers added in November 2008, at the height of the recession.

Despite the fact that October retail hiring was adjusted downward from an originally reported 141,500 to 123,700, the pace of seasonal hiring in 2011 is still up 15 percent from last year.  So far this holiday season, retailers have added 547,200 workers, compared to 476,800 workers added in October and November 2010.

“While we expected holiday retail hiring to be about the same as a year ago, stronger-than-expected sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday could result in a late hiring surge that could push December employment gains up over last year’s levels,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Retail employment grew by 150,800 in December 2010.  Even if retailers simply match that level of hiring activity, seasonal hiring will exceed the 2010 total of 627,600 extra holiday workers,” he added.

According to the National Retail Federation, brick-and-mortar retail stores saw a 7 percent increase in Black Friday sales, which hit a record high $11.4 billion.  Meanwhile, IBM reported that the average amount of money spent per consumer on Cyber Monday increased a whopping 33 percent.

It is not just retailers who are adding workers.  According to Challenger tracking of hiring announcements, shipping giants FedEx and UPS planned to add a combined 75,000 workers to help them deliver holiday packages.

 

# # #

*The widely-reported seasonally-adjusted data, which is intended to “smooth out” volatile fluctuations in seasonal hiring, showed a net gain of 49,800 new retail jobs in November.  Challenger uses the non-seasonally adjusted data to capture the actual holiday hiring activity.

JOBS ADDED IN RETAIL TRADE

October – December, 1999-2011

 

Oct

Nov

Dec

TOTAL

Job Growth Compared to Previous Year

1999

172,300

369,000

308,100

849,400

8.0%

2000

143,700

393,800

250,600

788,100

-7.2%

2001

95,700

352,000

137,600

585,300

-25.7%

2002

125,900

350,400

193,300

669,600

14.4%

2003

145,100

305,000

189,900

640,000

-4.4%

2004

157,800

371,800

180,600

710,200

11.0%

2005

122,300

392,700

196,400

711,400

0.2%

2006

150,600

427,200

169,000

746,800

5.0%

2007

87,900

465,400

167,500

720,800

-3.5%

2008

38,600

213,500

72,800

324,900

-54.9%

2009

45,100

317,000

133,700

495,800

52.6%

2010

144,100

332,700

150,800

627,600

26.6%

2011

123,700

   423,500

547,200

AVERAGE

119,446

362,615

179,192

655,825

 

         
Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., using non-seasonally

adjusted data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

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