Chelmsford, Mass. -- Kronos said Tuesday that its latest Kronos Retail Labor Index, which characterized the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector for the month of August, was unchanged from the month prior. The index, which defines the ratio of hires to applicants within a given month, expressed as a percentage, was unchanged at 3.5% in August 2011, as both hires and applications increased slightly, all on a seasonally adjusted basis.
According to the report, retailers representing 13,755 distributed locations across the U.S. recorded 32,819 hires (seasonally adjusted) in August 2011, up 1.4% from a revised 32,377 hires in July 2011.
The number of applications received by retailers in the Kronos sample rose 2.5% in August 2011, to 948,076, from a revised 925,378 in July 2011, all on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The 60-day retention rate, measured as the number of hires who remain employed for at least the first 60 days divided by the total number of hires made in that month, rose to 85% (seasonally adjusted) in April from 84.6% in March. (According to Kronos, there is a four-month lag on this indicator as two months are required to measure whether a hire remained employed for 60 days and Kronos customers have two months to return data on separations.)
"Despite the 1.4% rise in August, it remains the case that retail hiring has really only begun to recover since the end of the recession, with hiring by firms included in the Kronos sample just 8.5% above the first quarter of 2009,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which compiled the report.
Nevertheless, added Varvares, this is considerably stronger than retail hiring as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is up just 2.7% since early 2009. “A strong report on retail sales for July, as well as solid chain-store sales reported for August, points to some strengthening in the retail industry of late and potentially a further pick-up in retail hiring ahead," Varvares said.