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12/14/2021

Seasonal hiring in retail lowest in five years; warehousing hires also down

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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holiday worker
Retail companies have added 7.5% fewer seasonal jobs this year compared to 2020

Retailers are having a hard time filling seasonal jobs even after offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives.

Retail companies have added 7.5% fewer seasonal jobs this year compared to 2020, 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. Companies in transportation and warehousing have added 8.4% fewer seasonal jobs this year compared to 2020.

Retailers added 551,400 jobs in October and November compared to the same period last year when 596,000 jobs were added. It is the lowest October-November total for the sector since 2016 when 508,800 seasonal retail jobs were added.

The transportation and warehousing sector, which saw enormous seasonal growth in 2020 with a 67% increase in jobs added over 2019, added 340,700 jobs in October and November.  This is down from the 372,100 jobs added during the same period last year.  The downward trend came as many retailers offered

Challenger predicted retailers would add 700,000 jobs this holiday season, down from the 736,000 jobs added last year, mainly due to the difficulty employers are having filling these roles.

“We know demand is up and retail sales are predicted to blow past last year,” said Andrew Challenger, senior VP for Challenger, Gray & Christmas.We also know employers are having difficulty hiring in-person, shift workers, despite offering wage increases and other benefits.”

[Read More: Holiday sales could beat forecast despite inflation, COVID, says NRF economist]