Chelmsford, Mass. -- A report released Thursday by workforce management solution-provider Kronos Inc. found that retail experienced gains in job applications and hiring during the month of August.
The Kronos Retail Labor Index, which characterizes the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector, revealed that the index declined two-tenths to 3.9% in August. (This 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).
The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample made 34,776 hires (seasonally adjusted) in August 2012, partially reversing declines over the previous two months. While hiring has improved since the lows reached following the recession, with total hires so far this year of 280,940 up 6.5% from the same period last year, it remains well below levels seen prior to the recession, when firms hired an average of nearly 55,000 workers per month.
The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample rose 8.8% to 881,517 in August 2012 from a level in July that was revised substantially higher, all on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“While this was the second monthly gain in applications, the downward trend appears intact, suggesting less competition for those seeking retail positions than at this time last year,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which conducted the survey for Kronos. "
“Until a strong, sustained recovery in consumer spending emerges, retailers are likely to remain cautious about hiring decisions."