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posted on 08 December 2015

November Retail Hiring Falls To 4-Year Low - 5% Fewer Than One Year Ago

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

After adding a record number of workers in October, the pace of hiring among the nation's retailers dropped to a four-year low in November.

The latest non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that retail employment increased by 394,100 in November. That is 5.0 percent lower than the 414,300 retail jobs added to the economy in November 2014. Last month was the lowest November retail hiring total since 2011, when retail jobs grew by 390,600.

JOBS ADDED IN RETAIL TRADE

October, November, December, 2010-2015

Oct

Nov

Dec

TOTAL

% Change

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

210,400

394,100

???

???

???

AVERAGE

163,067

411,117

150,360

718,480

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

In addition to the November slowdown, retail hiring in October was adjusted downward from 214,500 to 210,400. That still represents a record high for October retail hiring, but it suggests that overall seasonal hiring may very well shrink from 2014 levels.

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

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 Challenger.

Foot traffic and retail sales are increasing, but retailers apparently feel that they are able to meet the increased demand with fewer overall workers. Like other industries, retailers doing this through the increase utilization of technology in every aspect of the business - from marketing and logistics to merchandising and sales floor strategies.

Seasonal hiring is still a thing, as evidenced by the fact that retail employment has grown by more than 600,000 workers in the last two months. However, the scale of seasonal hiring is definitely shrinking. It also appears to be moving up to late September and early October.

This doesn't mean that holiday job seekers should stop looking. Retailers continue to add throughout the holidays as high turnover in the industry requires nearly-constant recruiting activities. Even in December, retailers add another 150,000 workers, on average.

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