Retail hiring down in April

Chelmsford, Mass. -- The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down to 3.8% in April from a March level that was revised three-tenths lower. Even with declines over the last two months, the Retail Labor Index remains above levels seen over the last few years, averaging 4.0% over the first four months of this year, up from 3.5% last year. (The Index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0) means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred)

“This was the second consecutive decline in hires, following a strong, nearly 11 percent gain in February,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up of the Kronos report. “Hiring in February may have been boosted by the unseasonably warm weather experienced this winter, pulling some spring hires forward and helping to explain some of the subsequent declines in March and April.”

“In addition, readings on retail sales and chain-store sales through March were strong and above expectations, suggesting business conditions for retail firms are improving,” Varvares added.

“We look for the pace of hiring at retail firms to pick up in the coming months as this sector continues to strengthen,” he said.

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