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posted on 11 January 2017

Retail Sales Hiring The Lowest Since 2010

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

On the news that Macy’s is shuttering 68 stores and cutting 10,000 workers and Limited is closing all 250 locations impacting 4,000 workers, a new report released Tuesday further indicates the industry’s inexorable shift to online.

Retail clocked the fewest holiday job gains since 2010, as the accelerating shift toward online shopping continued to take a toll on job opportunities in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

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

182,800

412,200

154,100

749,100

-4.8%

2015

194,800

409,500

134,500

738,800

-1.4%

2016

148,900

415,700

108,100

672,700

-8.9%

AVERAGE

158,400

413,671

141,929

714,000

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

Employment in the sector grew by 672,700 workers during the three-month holiday hiring period of 2016, according to an analysis of government employment data by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. That was down 9.0 percent from the 738,800 jobs added in 2015.

This marked the third consecutive decline in holiday employment gains. The 2016 -holiday hiring total was the lowest since 647,600 jobs were added to retail payrolls during the closing months of 2010, when the economy was in the first year of recovery following the Great Recession. Said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

The retail landscape is going through a sea change. The shift toward online shopping has being ramping up for years. It is obvious in the sales numbers and in the falling level of in-store traffic during the holidays. In this environment, retailers simply don’t need as many extra workers during the holidays.

Indeed, US-based retailers have announced 125,182 job cuts in the last two years alone, according to Challenger tracking, many from major brands closing brick-and-mortar locations and eliminating in-store staff.

Announced Retail Job Cuts

United States

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

JAN.

22,246

6,699

11,394

6,676

12,426

5,755

16,737

53,968

FEB.

1,096

9,163

3,848

2,279

2,090

8,360

1,534

18,759

MARCH

8,490

6,640

2,989

16,445

2,175

1,653

2,097

3,821

APRIL

5,145

3,594

6,993

5,897

2,365

2,900

899

2,927

MAY

1,287

1,187

472

1,386

1,927

2,944

608

2,657

JUNE

3,831

17,947

1,167

217

2,807

1,415

4,306

3,566

JULY

1,523

2,532

2,183

1,794

4,135

11,245

812

2,654

AUGUST

1,025

9,601

1,063

873

862

5,901

3,812

890

SEPT.

7,296

2,467

1,965

927

1,519

1,616

441

6,180

OCT.

1,180

5,153

6,874

538

1,013

4,264

1,923

1,643

NOV.

4,850

626

2,640

9,998

1,527

2,285

645

913

DEC.

1,355

249

2,195

2,269

22

2,608

4,937

829

TOTAL

59,324

65,858

43,783

49,299

32,868

50,946

38,751

98,807

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

According to statistics from the National Retail Federation online shoppers outnumbered in-store shoppers by about 10 million during the crucial Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday weekend.

Further evidence of the shift toward online shopping could be seen in the Federation’s holiday sales projections. While it forecast year-over-year sales gains of 3.6 percent for the overall sector, the projected growth rate for online sales only was more than twice that pace, at 7 to 10 percent.

As more shoppers move online, the availability of seasonal employment, while reduced, will never fade entirely. However, the change is forcing job seekers to look in new places, according to Challenger.

Over the last three years, fourth-quarter employment gains in transportation and warehousing averaged 218,000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is up from an average of 137,000 from 2011 through 2013.

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