Chelmsford, Mass. -- The ratio of retail hires to applicants has gone up to the highest number since August 2008, rising to 4.8% in October, according to the Kronos Retail Labor Index. (The Index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3% means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred.)
“The increase in the RLI this month reflected a solid, 6.7% gain in hires while applications were essentially unchanged, in contrast to recent months when sharp declines in applications – not a surge in hiring – were pushing the Index higher,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up. “Strong readings on retail sales in September likely boosted retailer confidence, contributing to the pick-up in October hiring.”
The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample made 35,160 hires (seasonally adjusted) in October 2012, up 6.7% from the previous month. This was the first increase in five months and put the number of hires in October 5.2% above its level one year ago.
The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample was little changed in October, edging down to 735,273 from an upwardly revised 736,524 in September 2012. Applications have been moving down from highs reached last year, and the level in October was nearly 200,000 below its level one year ago.