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Tuesday, October 20, 2015 1:58 PM

Weak Holiday Hiring Coming Up?

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Those expecting a big surge in seasonal hiring this year are likely to be wrong if outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas is correct.

One relative bright spot is Amazon Hiring More than Penney's, Walmart Combined.

Leaving one widely watched holiday hiring forecast in the dust, Amazon (AMZN) said Tuesday that it will add 25 percent more seasonal workers this year, outpacing many of its bricks-and-mortar competitors who plan to keep hiring flat.

Last month, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said it expects retailers to add roughly 755,000 seasonal hires to their payrolls in the final three months of the year. That level would be flat with last year, when holiday hiring fell short of predictions.

"Once again, most analysts are anticipating healthy holiday sales this year," CEO John Challenger said in a statement. "However, there are several factors that may prevent these strong sales expectations from translating into increased hiring."

"When retailers do add holiday workers, fewer of those jobs are in traditional spots, such as sales clerk or cashier."

In 2014, Challenger predicted retailers would hire more than 800,000 seasonal workers from October through December, which would have been the first time they hit this number since 1999. Instead, they ended up adding 755,000 jobs, a decline of 4 percent from 2013.
Seasonal Hiring Expectations

  • Amazon 100,000 a 25% increase
  • Macy's 85,000 no increase
  • Wal-Mart 60,000 no increase
  • JC Penney 30,000 down 5,000
  • Nordstrom 11,800 up 1,000
  • Toys R Us 40,000 down 5,000
  • Kohl's 69,000 up 2,000
  • Target 70,000 no increase
  • Burlington 10,800 up 19%
  • Sports Authority 3,500 no change
  • GameStop 28,000 up 12%
  • Belk 5,800 no increase
  • Bon-Ton 13,000 not stated
  • UPS 90,000-95,000 no increase
  • Federal Express 55,000 up 5,000

If hiring is indeed flat or nearly so, the upcoming jobs reports are likely to be marginal at best.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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