Retail Hiring Highest Since 1999

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Holiday Hiring Down from Record Levels In November

After getting off to its strongest start in 14 years, the pace of holiday hiring in November slipped below last year’s level, suggesting that retailers may be reining in expectations for a bountiful Christmas selling season.

Retail employment expanded by 471,000 in November, which is down 4.7 percent from a year ago, when retailers hired a record 494,400 workers, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ non-seasonally adjusted employment data by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  

Read the full report here.

 

 

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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Seasonal Hiring Announcements, So Far

Seasonal Hiring Announcements

 

**In addition to Wal-Mart’s hiring of 55,000 seasonal workers, the company announced it will also expand 70,000 jobs from part-time to permanent part-time or full-time positions.

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?

Macy’s

83,000

Target

70,000

Amazon

70,000

Walmart

55,000

Kohl’s

53,000

Toys R Us

45,000

JCPenney

35,000

GameStop

17,000

Meijer

9,000

JoAnn’s

3,000

eBay (Louisville, KY)

2,000

Eddie Bauer (Columbus, OH)

1,200

eBay (Eau Claire, WI)

800

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