Holiday Season Hiring Likely Will Not Keep Pace with 2012

December 10th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: 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.

Follow up:

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.

In addition to the November decline, the retail job gains in October were adjusted downward from an originally reported 159,500 to 158,000. Overall, retail job gains through the first two months of the year-end holiday hiring surge now total 629,000, which is 2.3 percent lower than the 643,800 jobs added in October and November 2012. Noted John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

While November hiring was down from a year ago, it is important to understand that November 2012 saw the largest number of workers ever added to retail payrolls in a single month, according to non-seasonally adjusted government data going back to 1939. So, despite the year-over-year decline, last month still represents the second highest one-month employment gain for this industry on record.

Unless there is significant retail hiring in December, year-end retail employment gains probably will not match last year’s pace. With the National Retail Federation forecasting tepid growth this holiday season and weak Thanksgiving weekend spending, a December hiring surge is looking less and less likely.

Holiday retail sales were expected to increase by 3.9 percent this year, according to an October forecast by the National Retail Federation. That would represent just a slight improvement over the 3.5 percent sales increase achieved in 2012. However, that 3.9 percent increase could prove to be elusive, based on the fact that initial reports on retail spending over the Thanksgiving weekend showed a decline of nearly 3.0 percent from a year ago, due in large part to heavy discounting.

The widely-reported seasonally-adjusted data, which is intended to “smooth out” volatile fluctuations in seasonal hiring, showed a net gain of 22,300 new retail jobs in November. Challenger uses the non-seasonally adjusted data to capture the actual holiday hiring activity.

December 9, 2013

JOBS ADDED IN RETAIL TRADE

October, November, December, 1999-2013

Oct

Nov

Dec

TOTAL

Job Growth Compared to Previous Year

1999

172,200

369,100

308,200

849,500

8.0%

2000

143,600

393,800

250,800

788,200

-7.2%

2001

95,700

352,100

137,500

585,300

-25.7%

2002

125,800

350,500

193,200

669,500

14.4%

2003

145,000

305,100

189,800

639,900

-4.4%

2004

158,000

371,800

180,700

710,500

11.0%

2005

122,300

392,700

196,600

711,600

0.2%

2006

150,600

427,300

169,000

746,900

5.0%

2007

87,900

465,400

167,600

720,900

-3.5%

2008

38,600

213,600

72,700

324,900

-54.9%

2009

45,100

317,100

133,600

495,800

52.6%

2010

149,800

339,200

158,600

647,600

30.6%

2011

134,200

390,600

154,500

679,300

4.9%

2012

149,400

494,400

108,000

751,800

10.7%

2013

158,000

471,000

 

629,000

AVERAGE

125,080

376,913

172,914

663,380

 

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

Announced/Reported Seasonal Hiring Plans

 

2012

2013

Target

88,000

70,000

Macy's

80,000

83,000

Kohl's

52,700

53,000

Walmart

50,000

55,000

Amazon

50,000

70,000

Toys R Us

45,000

45,000

JC Penney

40,000

35,000

UPS (Transportation)

55,000

55,000

FedEx (Transportation)

20,000

20,000

GameStop

17,000

17,000

Best Buy

14,000

 

Meijer

12,000

9,000

Hickory Farms (Food)

5,225

6,000

TOTAL

495,925

518,000

 

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.









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