Retailers Add 130,000 jobs in October in Prep for Holiday Rush

Chicago — Nov. 5

While several large retailers have announced large-scale holiday hiring plans, employment gains in the retail sector last month were virtually unchanged from a year ago, according to an analysis of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

The 130,100 retail job gains last month were only slightly more than the 128,900 retail jobs added in October 2011. The first month of holiday hiring both this year and last were down significantly from the 149,800 retail jobs created in October 2010.

While 2011 started slowly, retailers added another 531,300 workers in November and December for a total of 660,200 seasonal employment gains, the highest level since 2007.

In 2008 — the worst holiday-hiring season in 22 years — retailers added only 38,600 seasonal workers in October and only 324,000 total workers during entire holiday season of October through December.

In its annual holiday hiring forecast released in September, Challenger predicted that seasonal hiring would be about the same or slightly higher than a year ago.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.