After a record-breaking hiring spree in October, seasonal employment gains in retail fizzled in November and December, with employers adding 23,000 fewer workers than during the same two-month period a year earlier. To make matters worse, it appears that several retailers are now implementing heavy job-cut initiatives to start the year.
"2014 is a great year to look for a job for the holidays, which can be a good way to earn some extra cash or get your foot in the door for a longer-term career. 'We could see retailers add more than 800,000 seasonal workers for the first time since 1999,' says John Challenger, CEO of outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas."
"Across the country, retailers like Macy’s and Walmart are adding a projected 800,000 holiday workers to their ranks, their highest level of seasonal hiring since 1999, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas."
Continued employment gains across all industries and increased consumer spending are expected to boost demand for seasonal workers this year, according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The positive outlook was bolstered by the news that UPS plans to add 95,000 seasonal workers this year, nearly doubling last year’s level.
"'Unless there is significant retail hiring in December, year-end retail employment gains probably will not match last year's pace,' Mr. Challenger said. 'With the National Retail Federation forecasting tepid growth this holiday season and weak Thanksgiving weekend spending, a December hiring surge is looking less and less likely.'"
After getting off to its strongest start in 14 years, the pace of holiday hiring in November slipped below last year’s level, suggesting that retailers may be reining in expectations for a bountiful Christmas selling season.
Retail employment expanded by 471,000 in November, which is down 4.7 percent from a year ago, when retailers hired a record 494,400 workers, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ non-seasonally adjusted employment data by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.