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Holiday Hiring Expected to be Sluggish

Retailers will hire 410,000 seasonal workers, the lowest since 2008, Challenger report concludes.

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Holiday Hiring Expected to be Sluggish
PHOTOGRAPHY: JackF/iStock.com

As the 2023 holiday season kicks off, the labor market is starting to cool and employers are hiring at a slower clip. With labor costs and interest rates rising, seasonal employers may rein in their typical hiring, as both consumers and employers feel the crunch, according to an annual seasonal hiring survey done by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

“With inflation slowing, companies, particularly retailers, won’t be able to pass increased labor costs to the consumer as easily,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior V.P. of the global outplacement and business coaching firm. “This could lead to more cuts, rather than more added positions, as evidenced by the increase in job cuts in this sector.”

Given all those factors, Challenger predicts retailers will add just 410,000 seasonal positions, the lowest number since the final quarter of 2008, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by Challenger.

The 2022 holiday hiring season saw retailers add 509,300 jobs, revised down from 519,400, according to the BLS. That is down 27 percent from the 701,400 jobs added during the holiday season in 2021, and the lowest since retailers added 495,800 seasonal positions in 2009.

“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?” said Challenger.

Among the retailers to detail their hiring plans for this year’s holiday shopping season in recent days are Macy’s and Target.

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Click here for more from the Challenger survey.

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