November Holiday Hiring Strongest On Record

Retailers added 465,500 seasonal workers in November, the most ever added during what is typically the busiest hiring month of the holiday hiring season, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The net gain in retail employment achieved last month barely surpassed the previous record set in 2007, when retail payrolls grew by 465,400 workers during the month of November.

November job gains were up 21 percent from the 383,700 seasonal workers hired by retailers a year ago.  Furthermore, October job gains in the retail sector were adjusted upward to 145,200 from an originally-reported figure of 130,100.

Retail employment has grown by a total of 610,700 in October and November.  That is up 19 percent from 512,600 in the same two-month period a year ago.  It is just shy of the 660,200 seasonal workers added during the entire three-month holiday hiring period last year.

“Despite all of the uncertainty, all the talk of fiscal cliffs, the widespread damage to retail epicenters on the east coast by Hurricane Sandy, and the continued growth of e-commerce, retailers are hiring holiday workers in record numbers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“An early Thanksgiving and the fact that many retailers started the traditional Black Friday sales on Thursday may have contributed to strong early holiday sales and the need for additional workers.  Of course, more people working this holiday season could result in further retail sales gains as more Americans have more spending money in their pockets for gifts,” Challenger added.

Last year, retail employment increased by 147,600 in December.  Even if retailers simply match that level of hiring activity, seasonal hiring this year could reach nearly 760,000.  If that occurs, it would the strongest retail holiday hiring season since 2000, when 788,100 seasonal workers were added to retail payrolls.

# # #

The widely-reported seasonally-adjusted data, which is intended to “smooth out” volatile fluctuations in seasonal hiring, showed a net gain of 52,600 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, 1999-2012

 

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

149,800

339,200

158,600

647,600

30.6%

2011

128,900

   383,700

147,600

660,200

1.9%

2012

145,200

   465,500

610,700

 

AVERAGE

122,064

367,586

177,362

654,343

 

         
Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., using non-seasonally adjusted data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

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