MONEY & BUSINESS: Retailer holiday hiring to drop to lowest level since 2008: report
US retailers will hire the lowest number of seasonal workers for this holiday season since the final quarter of 2008, due to increased labor costs and shaky consumer confidence, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas shared exclusively with Reuters.
Retailers are expected to add just 410,000 seasonal jobs this season, according to an analysis of nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the global outplacement and executive coaching firm. That is just slightly above the 324,900 workers they added during the last quarter of the financial recession of 2008.
The hesitancy in hiring stems from consumers keeping a tight hold on spending and as retailers struggle to pass on rising costs of labor at a time when inflation is ebbing, said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at the firm, which tracks government data and hiring trends.
“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?” Challenger said.
Signs are already emerging that the labor market is starting to cool and employers are hiring at a slower clip.
Data released by the Labor Department earlier this month 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.
US-based companies have so far announced just 8,000 planned hires for the holiday season, compared with the 258,201 planned hires announced by employers by this point in 2022, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ tracking.