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posted on 21 November 2015

Retailers Add More Than 200,000 Jobs. Most October Job Gains Ever Recorded.

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

Holiday hiring got off to its strongest start ever last month, as retailers added more than 200,000 new workers in October. However, the record pace is not expected to continue into November and December.

The number of Americans employed in the retail industry increased by 214,500 in October. That represents the largest number of retail jobs ever added in October, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data going back to 1939.

The October employment gains in retail were 16 percent higher than a year ago, when 185,700 workers were added to these payrolls.

Strong hiring in October does not necessarily signal an overall increase in holiday hiring. Last year's 185,700 retail job gains in October represented a record high at the time, but employment gains over the entire the three-month holiday hiring period ended up lower than 2013 levels.

JOBS ADDED IN RETAIL TRADE - October, November, December, 2005-2015

Oct

Nov

Dec

TOTAL

% Change

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

138,700

485,400

99,600

723,700

6.5%

2013

159,600

443,100

184,100

786,800

8.7%

2014

185,700

414,300

155,000

755,000

-4.0%

2015

214,500

???

???

???

???

AVERAGE

129,727

388,870

149,130

659,250

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., with data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last year, retail employment increased by 755,000 from October 1 through December 31. That was down 4.0 percent from the previous year, when the holiday period saw employment grow by 786,800. Said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

The last couple of years has seen strong retail employment gains in October, followed by weaker gains in November. The data suggest that retailers have moved up their hiring schedule in recent years, adding more workers in late September and early October.

Since reaching a recent high of 485,400 retail job gains in November 2012, hiring has slowed each subsequent year. In 2013, the number of hires dropped 9.0 percent to 443,100. In 2014, November job gains in retail fell by another 7.0 percent to 414,300.

As of October, a total of 15,797,200 Americans were employed in the retail industry. Concludes Challenger:

While the bulk of the seasonal hiring has already been completed, it is never too late to find openings. Many of the areas adding seasonal workers, including retail, food service and shipping companies, tend to have high turnover. Because these employers are adding so many workers so quickly, the odds of failed hires increases significantly. They just don't have the time to make sure the applicant is the best fit for the job. As a result, job seekers may be able to continue to find opportunities well into the holiday season.

Job seekers should also look beyond the retail industry. The obvious candidates are shipping companies. UPS and FedEx plan to add about 150,000 seasonal employees between them.

Additionally, a stronger economy is likely to translate into increased consumer and business spending on holiday parties, gifts, entertainment, etc. So, job seekers should be looking for opportunities with catering companies, party and event organizers, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues.

Announced Seasonal Hiring Plans

2013

2014

2015

Amazon

70,000

80,000

100,000

UPS

55,000

95,000

95,000

Macy's

83,000

86,000

85,000

Kohl's

53,000

76,970

79,160

Target

70,000

70,000

70,000

Walmart

55,000

60,000

60,000

FedEx (Transportation)

20,000

50,000

55,000

Toys R Us

45,000

45,000

40,000

JC Penney

35,000

35,000

30,000

GameStop

17,000

25,000

28,000

Nordstrom

N/A

N/A

11,800

Sports Authority

N/A

N/A

3,500

Meijer

9,000

10,000

N/A

Gap

N/A

63,000

N/A

Hickory Farms (Food)

6,000

N/A

N/A

Best Buy

N/A

N/A

N/A

TOTAL

518,000

695,970

657,460

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