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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Seasonal Retail Hiring

by Calculated Risk on 9/08/2009 02:33:00 PM

Typically retail companies start hiring for the holiday season in October, and really increase hiring in November. Here is a graph that shows the historical net retail jobs added for October, November and December by year.

Seasonal Retail Hiring Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This really shows the collapse in retail hiring in 2008. This also shows how the season has changed over time - back in the '80s, retailers hired mostly in December. Now the peak month is November, and many retailers start hiring seasonal workers in October.

Here is a story from Bloomberg: Retail Hiring Shift May Show Growing Confidence in Recovery (ht Brian, Mike)

U.S. discount, grocery and restaurant chains are hiring a larger percentage of job applicants than seven months ago, signaling confidence the economy may be improving, software maker Kronos Inc. said.

Kronos analyzed the 8.9 million job applications received by 68 retailers in the first seven months of the year. In July, 2.99 of every 100 applications resulted in a hire, compared with 2.75 in January, a three-year low, the Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based company said today in a statement.

“We are seeing a turnaround that reflects an increase in confidence by individual managers,” Robert Yerex, Kronos’s chief economist ... “It may take quite a bit longer to come back than it did to drop off.” This is the first time Kronos has publicly issued a monthly retail labor index.
Unfortunately this data is new and the season hasn't started yet. This hiring will be watched closely, and I suspect seasonal hiring will be stronger than in 2008, but not as strong as the 700+ thousand jobs in 2004 through 2007.