Holiday Slump: Seasonal Retail Hiring Numbers Expected To Be About The Same As Last Year

September 24, 2013  |  

Conservative holiday spending and a desire to keep costs down at retail shops around the country are expected to keep hiring numbers down this coming holiday season. Global employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says seasonal hiring at retailers across the country will be around 700,000, falling short of the all-time high reached in 2012 of 751,800. That number was up 14 percent from the year before.

In a sad bit of cyclical logic, analysts say that unemployment and underemployment are making people nervous about spending a ton of money on holiday gifts. As a result, there will be fewer jobs for people who are unemployed or underemployed. Sigh.

Seasonal holiday hiring usually goes from October 1 to December 31. The shopping season kicks into high gear on Black Friday, the big post-Thanksgiving shopping day. This year, there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, down from 31 last year. Sales this holiday season are expected to be up 2.4 percent over last year, but that’s less than the past couple of years.

Among the retailers that will be staffing up in greater numbers this year are Walmart, Toys R Us and Kohl’s. Walmart says it’ll bring in 55,000 workers this year, 5,000 more than last year. And Toys R Us says it’ll maintain last year’s figure — 45,000. They’ll start hiring this week with positions lasting through December. And the AP says 15 percent of 2012’s seasonal jobs turned into full-time positions. Kohl’s is looking for about 53,000 workers, a small increase from last year. The Kansas City Star also says FedEx and UPS hired 20,000 and 55,000 workers last year, respectively.

Target, on the other hand, will be seeking 20 percent fewer workers this year, or 70,000 workers.

Now’s the time to get those applications in. So if you’re looking for work, get cracking.

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