Monday, September 13, 2010

On Retail Seasonal Hiring

by Bill McBride on 9/13/2010 01:04:00 PM

October is the first month for seasonal retail hiring - and most hiring happens in November. So it is probably time to start looking ahead.

According to a survey released last week, most retailers plan on hiring about the same number of seasonal workers as last year (a weak year), however about one-fifth expect to hire more.

Here was an article from the WSJ: Holiday Job Outlook Stays Flat

Most major American retailers plan to hire the same number of temporary holiday workers as last year, according to a survey by a top industry consultant, underscoring that store chains continue to view the coming season with caution.

Still, the annual Hay Group survey ... found that more than one-fifth of respondents expected to hire more seasonal help than in 2009 ...
Retail Employment Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows that seasonally adjusted (blue) and not seasonally adjusted (red) retail employment. There is a clear seasonal pattern (no surprise).

Not only is overall retail employment down, but seasonal hiring was very low in 2008, and still weak in 2009.

Retail Employment The second graph shows the seasonal hiring by the three key months (October, November and December).

Although seasonal hiring bounced back last year, it was still the second weakest year since 1989 (only 2008 was worse). From this early survey, it sounds like there should be some increase in seasonal hiring - but it will still be a very weak year.