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.