Chicago—The nation’s retailers are expected to hire about 700,000 temporary employees between Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 to help with the holiday selling season. That’s below last year when hires were up 14% to 751,800 and 2012 marked the fourth consecutive increase since the economic debacle in 2008.
“While the economy and job market are improving, it has now been four years since the recession officially ended and millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed,” said John Challenger, chief executive at Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement consultancy. “As a result, consumers remain uneasy, which is evidenced by wide monthly mood swings in confidence surveys.”
Some of the lower number of hires can be chalked up to the increase in online selling and retailers becoming more savvy about predicting traffic levels and peak selling times, Challenger said.
Complicating matters this year is a shorter shopping season: only 25 days instead of the 31 shopping days in 2012.
Target, for example, said last week it would hire about 20% fewer seasonal workers, about 70,000, than it did last year. Part of the reason for the lower number was due to Target listening to its permanent employees who expressed interest in working longer hours during holiday.
Kohl’s also reported last week it plans to hire about 53,000 seasonal associates for the holidays, roughly in keeping with last year’s levels.
Meanwhile, Walmart said Monday it plans to hire 55,000 temporary workers at its U.S. stores during the holiday season, up 10% from 2012.
In addition to the 55,000 seasonal workers, Walmart U.S. also said it would move more than 35,000 employees from temporary to part-time status, and another 35,000 from part-time to full-time by the end of the year.