2023 Seasonal Retail Hiring Update
Published November 9, 2023
Cautious and Optimistic Retailers Add 3% More Jobs
Retailers approach October cautiously, but optimistically, adding 147,800 positions, a 3% increase from the 143,700 added in October 2022. Meanwhile, Transportation and Warehousing companies added 27% fewer workers in October than the same month last year, according to a new analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“Retailers are ramping up for the holiday season, and no doubt monitoring conditions to determine staffing ahead of the December holidays. As consumers continue to spend and interest rates hold, Retailers may be expecting solid sales and in-store foot traffic heading into Black Friday,” said Andrew Challenger, workplace and labor expert and Senior Vice President of global outplacement and executive and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Transportation/Warehousing Jobs Fall 27% From Last Year
Meanwhile, Transportation and Warehousing added 63,600 positions in October, a 27% decrease from the 86,800 jobs added in the sector in October 2022.
“The pullback in Transportation and Warehousing may signal a strategic pause, as companies reassess their operational capacity and saturation in employment from the pandemic years. Recent labor disputes and negotiations may have also set back any potential hiring plans,” said Challenger.
Retail employment has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but is lower than 2018, when 15,650,100 people were employed in the sector in October. This year, Retail employment in October is 15,562,900, according to preliminary non-seasonally adjusted data from the BLS.
Meanwhile, Transportation and Warehousing, which saw record-high employment last December with 7,049,500, has fewer workers this October than in the same month in 2022. In October, the BLS reported 6,734,600 workers, down 25,300 jobs from October 2022.
Announced Large-Scale Seasonal Hiring Plans
So far this season, large-scale seasonal hiring announcements, which Challenger has tracked since 2012, are lower than previous years. US-based companies have announced 573,300 seasonal positions in September and October of this year (Table 2). While Challenger will continue to add seasonal hiring announcements from companies, as of now, it is the lowest year for seasonal hiring announcements since 2013. That year, employers announced 518,000 seasonal hiring plans. By this point in 2022, Challenger had tracked 590,200 seasonal hiring plans, and in 2021, the firm tracked 939,200.
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