US Retailers Hiring Fewer Seasonal Workers for Holiday Season
US retailers are expected to hire the lowest number of seasonal workers for this holiday season since the final quarter of 2008, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This is due to increased labor costs and shaky consumer confidence. The report was shared exclusively with Reuters.
Analysis of Seasonal Jobs
Retailers are expected to add just 410,000 seasonal jobs this season, based on an analysis of nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the global outplacement and executive coaching firm. This number is slightly above the 324,900 workers they added during the last quarter of the financial recession of 2008.
Reasons for Hesitancy in Hiring
The hesitancy in hiring stems from consumers keeping a tight hold on spending and retailers struggling to pass on rising labor costs at a time when inflation is ebbing, according to Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The firm tracks government data and hiring trends.
Challenges for Seasonal Employers
Andrew Challenger stated, “Seasonal employers have a few issues to grapple with in the coming months. One is the cost of labor limiting desire to add workers. Another is whether consumers continue to spend at the same clip. Another is one that has been fairly constant since the pandemic: can they attract workers?”
Labor Market Trends
Signs are already emerging that the labor market is starting to cool and employers are hiring at a slower pace. Recent data released by the Labor Department showed that the US unemployment rate spiked to 3.8%, while the labor participation rate rose to its highest level in 3-1/2 years.
Impact on Hiring Plans
US-based companies have announced just 8,000 planned hires for the holiday season so far, compared to the 258,201 planned hires announced by employers at this point in 2022, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ tracking.