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posted on 23 September 2017

Will Retailers Ramp Up Hiring For The Holidays?

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

While pivoting in the retail sector has caused thousands of store closures, price cuts on merchandise, and consolidation within the industry, retailers are signaling that there might be high demand for seasonal jobs.

Recently, Target announced it was hiring 100,000 seasonal positions for the holidays, up from the 70,000 in-store workers and 7,500 fulfillment and warehouse workers announced last year. Target also indicated they were lowering prices in all stores, a response to Amazon and Walmart's price-slashing practices.

Said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.:

The competition among major big-box retailers will incentivize consumers to spend more this holiday season. These stores will need to add staff in order to meet demand.

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 641,000 during the final three months of the year, the lowest number since the 495,800 retail hires announced in the final months of 2009. Last year's job gains were 9.6 percent lower than the previous year, when retailers added 708,800 jobs, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 246,700 workers in the final quarter of the year, 8 percent higher than the 228,400 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2015. In 2007, the seasonal job gains for this sector measured just 24,300.

Said Challenger:

As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers. While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online.

In addition to Target's announcement, Michaels has announced 15,000 holiday workers, and 1-800-Flowers will staff an additional 8,000 workers for the holidays.

According to Challenger tracking, retailers have announced over 6,000 store closures and 67,000 job cuts in the first eight months of the year. However, despite these numbers, retailers projected the highest number of hiring announcements for any industry, with over 248,000.

Concludes Challenger:

Most of those hiring announcements came early in the year, as retailers like Walmart and Dollar General expanded. The Home Depot announced plans to hire 80,000 workers for the summer season in March. Meanwhile, Amazon has been steadily boosting employment rolls after a January announcement of over 100,000 hires in the next 18 months.

Since 2012, holiday hiring announcements have averaged 604,000 per year, according to Challenger tracking. Some of those announcements are from non-retailers, such as FedEx and UPS. The bulk of those hiring announcements occur in September. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, hiring announcements in September have averaged over 415,000.

ANNOUNCED HIRING PLANS

All Industries

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Monthly Average

January

136,501

8,362

8,774

6,312

60,585

7,568

29,492

20,182

February

25,765

7,539

14,574

11,054

92,372

10,720

72,581

34,807

March

127,006

10,997

6,412

6,860

8,115

12,390

10,869

9,274

April

61,537

11,557

13,898

11,145

9,322

11,794

59,648

19,561

May

77,447

24,732

12,598

10,141

9,618

7,722

10,248

12,510

June

40,095

13,564

11,176

15,530

8,774

12,314

15,498

12,809

July

88,142

16,051

11,637

16,544

9,728

10,350

10,706

12,503

August

14,530

9,101

11,778

9,657

7,662

12,079

15,201

10,913

September

487,075

492,306

567,705

445,617

425,683

76,551

415,823

October

135,532

86,107

147,935

87,874

75,065

159,177

115,282

November

108,994

10,026

11,291

14,177

28,526

63,527

39,424

December

35,198

11,465

7,332

11,362

16,266

14,074

15,950

TOTAL

571,023

868,702

690,751

821,506

765,206

630,477

537,572

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

JOBS ADDED IN RETAIL TRADE

October, November, December, 2005-2017

Oct

Nov

Dec

TOTAL

% Change

2005

122,300

392,700

196,600

711,600

0.20%

2006

150,600

427,300

169,000

746,900

5.00%

2007

87,900

465,400

167,600

720,900

-3.50%

2008

38,600

213,600

72,700

324,900

-54.90%

2009

45,100

317,100

133,600

495,800

52.60%

2010

149,800

339,200

158,600

647,600

30.60%

2011

134,200

390,600

154,500

679,300

4.90%

2012

138,700

485,400

99,600

723,700

6.50%

2013

159,600

443,100

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