Retail employment increased by 12,900 jobs in November, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says this is one of the strongest gains of 2017.
The hiring spree reveals retailer confidence in the holiday season and therefore, a growth in the overall economy.
In October, NRF reported a monthly loss of 10,300 jobs, coming on the heels of a 10,600 job increase in September. The average for the three months ending in November was an increase of 4,400 jobs.
In total, NRF is predicting that temporary holiday hiring will reach between 500,000 and 550,000 in total, coinciding with a growth between 3.6% and 4% for holiday sales.
Looking at specific sectors of retail, most areas saw employment growth—except for electronics and appliance stores and clothing and accessories stores, which experienced decreased jobs.
When it comes to hourly wages, November had an average increase of 64 cents, 2.5%, year-over-year.
"While NRF traditionally only measures holiday hiring for the months of November and December, there has usually been a retention of workers into the next year. There are 'after-holiday' sales that carry through into January, particularly when consumers use gift cards they receive during the holidays to make purchases. Consequently, many retailers may stay staffed up as the calendar turns to January," Kleinhenz told FierceRetail. "Meanwhile, there is a serious number of job openings in retail. Many retailers may be hoping to turn seasonal workers into regular full-time employees to fill those positions."