2020 Seasonal Hiring Update: Jobs Explode in Retail, Transport & Warehousing in October

Retailers and Transportation and Warehousing firms added the highest number of jobs in October on record, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“While the year has been dominated by uncertainty, the surge in demand for online shopping necessitating the need for more shipping and transport jobs is fueling massive hiring gains in those industries right now,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“With COVID cases soaring and the potential for further shutdowns looming as we head into the winter months, demand for jobs in both of these sectors will likely increase. On top of that, with the positive vaccine news from Pfizer, consumers may be confident enough to spend. Much of this will depend on the job prospects for the millions who lost their jobs due to the pandemic shutdowns and deepening recession over the summer,” he added.

Retailers added 242,000 jobs in October, 55% higher than the 156,100 seasonal jobs added in the sector in October last year. While it is the highest total for October, it comes after falling by 75,000 jobs in September.

“Retail jobs have been a roller coaster since April, when the full impact of the shutdown orders was felt on the sector. Retailers have needed an elastic workforce to meet demand,” said Challenger.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Warehousing added 108,200 jobs in October, 198% higher than the 36,300 jobs added in October 2019.

Related: Seasonal Hiring Outlook 2020

Companies have also announced more seasonal hiring plans. Through October, Challenger has recorded 699,900 seasonal jobs announced by U.S.-based companies. This is up 24% from the 564,781 hiring plans announced at the same point in 2019. For the entire 2019 holiday season, companies announced 813,781 hiring plans.