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November 14, 2013 / Molly Moseley

2013 holiday hiring: Up, down or both?

November and December holiday consumer sales are expected to top $602.1 billion, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation, a 3.9 percent increase over 2012. More shoppers means the need for more retail seasonal staff, right? Yes and no.

Holiday hiring did get off to its strongest start since its heyday in 1999. According to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. report that analyzes the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, October saw its best holiday hiring numbers in 14 years. The 159,500 net new jobs in retail in October is a 6.7 percent increase from last year. October 2012 saw a 149,400 increase.

While October hiring numbers were strong, the biggest test will be in November, when the bulk of holiday hiring occurs and the holiday spending season hits its stride. According to several reports, many of the country’s big retailers are approaching holiday hiring with caution.

A Star Tribune business article noted these anticipated reductions in holiday hires from leading retailers:

•    Target: 70,000 vs. 88,000 in 2012
•    Kohl’s: 50,000 vs. 53,000 in 2012
•    J.C. Penny: 35,000 vs. 40,000 in 2012

Not all holiday hiring by big retailers is down though, some plan to stay the same or slightly increase their anticipated holiday hires from last year:

•    Walmart: 55,000 vs. 50,000 in 2012
•    Macy’s: 83,000 vs. 80,000 in 2012
•    Toys R Us: 45,000 – same as in 2012

Worth noting, Amazon is expected to increase its holiday hires by a whopping 20,000 people – from 50,000 holiday hires last year to 70,000 this year – an indicator of consumer’s increased use of the Internet for their holiday shopping needs.

Now that we are smack dab in the middle of November, holiday hiring across the country is trending on LinkUp, from both big retailers and more modest specialty stores. With thousands of seasonal jobs available, we’re excited to help retailers connect with the seasonal talent they need to have a successful holiday season. We know that just because the color red is the theme for most holiday décor, retailers want to end the year in the black, a more festive color when it comes to balancing the books.