Retailers Add More Workers Than Year Ago

November retail sales were the weakest in 35 years, according to recent reports, but that did not prevent retailers from hiring more workers than a year ago.
An analysis of Labor Department data by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found that employment in the retail sector grew by 321,300 in November, a 37 percent improvement over 2008 when just 233,700 workers were added to retail payrolls.
With the 54,200 workers added in October (adjusted downward from a previously reported 63,500), retailers have now hired a total of 375,500 seasonal workers. That is nearly as many as the 384,300 added in October, November and December of last year.
“Holiday hiring is definitely stronger than a year ago, but it remains clear that retailers are still reluctant to hire. Even if we see total holiday retail gains of 400,000 to 450,000 this year, it would be well short of the 714,000 seasonal jobs added on average between 1999 and 2007. Even in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the retail sector added more than 585,000 extra workers in the final three months of the year,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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