Seasonal retail hiring slows in November 

Marianne Wilson
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Hiring for seasonal retail jobs in November declined 35% year-over-year. But seasonal jobs in transportation and warehousing surged.

Employers added 302,100 jobs in the retail sector in November compared to 466,400 during the year-ago period, according to an analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.  

So far this season, retailers added 544,900 jobs in October and November, 12.5% lower than the 622,500 jobs added in the same time period for the sector last year, according to the BLS's non-seasonally adjusted data. As of November 2020, 15,487,600 workers were employed in retail, down 3.7% from the same month last year.

"November is the month where retailers typically add the bulk of their holiday workers,” said Andrew Challenger, senior VP,  Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “While this year has been atypical and many retailers beefed up their staff in March and April, retail employment is down overall this year.”

"Meanwhile, to meet shipping demands this holiday season which may be greater-than-expected since so many people are shipping goods and gifts instead of delivering them in-person, jobs in transportation and warehousing saw the highest gains in a single month last month," he added.

Transportation and warehousing added 260,800 jobs in November, 118% higher than the 119,400 jobs added in November 2019. For the season, this sector has added 369,000 jobs, 137% higher than the 155,700 jobs added in the same period last year.