Holiday Hiring Only Likely To Reach Last Year's Level—At Best

If you need a holiday job better get it fast. Retail sales growth is already expected to be down this season, and now the outlook for holiday hires isn't stellar either. According to a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., holiday hiring could fall by 6.9 percent this season.

There are some stores looking to build on their staff from last year. Walmart announced on Monday (September 23) that it plans to hire 55,000 workers this year, a 10 percent increase over the 50,000 the retailer hired last year, and will move 35,000 workers from part-time to full-time status and another 35,000 from temporary to part-time.

As is so often the case, though, Walmart is the exception, not the rule. Target will be trimming its holiday hires to around 70,000 this year, a 20 percent cut from last year, and overall retailers are expected to take on 700,000 temporary staff, down from 751,800 last year.

"While the economy and the job market are improving, it has now been four years since the recession officially ended and millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed," Challenger CEO John Challenger said in a statement. "As a result, consumers remain uneasy, which is evidenced by wide monthly mood swings in confidence surveys."

The drop in projected sales isn't completely separate from shrinking hiring predictions either. With more customers getting their shopping done early and searching for better deals online, many retailers don't see hiring more workers as the best investment.

"Whether it is related to increased online shopping or the shakiness in consumer confidence, the expectation that there will be fewer people in the stores could prompt some retailers to reduce the number of extra people they will need on the sales floor," Challenger said.

The decrease was also attributed to stronger hiring early in the year, making the hiring of reinforcements less of an issue now that November and December are approaching.

For more:

- See this Bloomberg story

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