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Forecast: Shifts will likely lead to more holiday hires

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers and logistics companies are gearing up for a huge shopping season in light of a solid economy and high consumer confidence, which translates into more jobs added for seasonal hiring.

That’s according to a forecast from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It was released the same day that Target announced it will increase its holiday hiring by 20%.

“Retailers have been aggressively hiring seasonal workers since July to combat the tight job market, said Andrew Challenger, VO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “This holiday season will be a good time for workers who have had trouble finding employment or those who are discouraged or marginally attached to the labor force, as retail, transport, and warehousing jobs will be plentiful.”

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 668,400 during the final three months of the year, 4.3% higher than in 2017, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Seasonal jobs are no longer in retail alone.

“With the rise of online shopping, transport and warehousing companies are also looking for seasonal workers,” said Challenger. “We’ve seen this trend over the last few years.”

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 279,700, up 13.4% from the 246,700 workers in the final quarter of 2017 and 6.6% higher than the 262,300 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2016.

The tight labor market will present a challenge to retailers’ holiday hiring plans.

“Retailers will have to offer competitive compensation or other perks to attract the workers needed for this holiday season,” said Challenger. “Already, we have seen some retailers offering discounted merchandise or special shopping days for their employees,” said Challenger. He noted that Kohl’s announced it was offering 15% discounts and “associate shopping days” for the seasonal workers they hired this summer.

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