The Real Story Behind This Year's Holiday Hiring


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Big chain stores are a bit more optimistic about how much consumers will spend this holiday season as opposed to last, and according to Forbes, many have upped their seasonal hiring to handle the influx of shoppers. Writer Jacquelyn Smith scanned retail job listing boards and found that Sears was the large department store looking for the most help, followed by JCPenney and Macy’s. Granted, a Sears spokesperson refutes these findings, and told The High Low that for the past few years the company has not released these sort of staffing numbers, in order to avoid speculation about holiday sales figures.

Still, there is good news for those out of work: According to a CareerBuilder survey, “40 percent of employers are planning to give their seasonal hires a chance to stay on after the holidays, which is up from the 31 percent of employers who did so last year.” The National Retail Federation reports that consumers want to spend more this year: on “average $688.87…up from $681.83 last year.”

Macy’s at Christmas. Photo via Wikimedia.

The AP quickly puts this positive news into context, reporting that “retailers will add between 550,000 and 650,000 jobs this holiday season…significantly more than the 501,400 added last year. But it’s still well below the 720,800 added in 2007, just before the recession began.”

The holiday staffing pool has traditionally been made up of college-age types, but this year, “retailers could see a more diverse and competitive applicant pool with so many Americans out of work.” Just in case you’ve forgotten (unlikely), the national unemployment rate was, as of September, 9.6%.


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