Retailers hiring at a record rate thanks to November seasonal employment
By Jay Keller
Additionally, U.S. retailers hired more seasonal workers in November than in previous years at a rate that was 21 percent higher than in 2011.
The Labor Department reported November job gains occurred in clothing/clothing accessory stores, in general merchandise stores and in electronics and appliance stores.
U.S. retailers hired 465,500 seasonal workers in November, the most ever added that month, according to a report released by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The rise in holiday hiring this year is due in part to early Black Friday sales at many retailers before and after Thanksgiving.
“Consumer confidence is high, and Americans are shopping again,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Soli on Friday. “Last month retailers added 53,000 jobs in anticipation of increased holiday sales.”
The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November, according to the Labor Dept., and overall employment increased last month mainly in retail trade, professional and business services and health care.
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” said Alan Kruger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, in a recent blog post.
Kruger also reminded readers that the month-to-month unemployment figures can be volatile and estimates “can be subject to substantial revision.”
Challenger, Gray & Christmas also reported overall job cuts were up 20 percent, making November the second-highest for layoffs in 2012 thanks to large-scale layoffs like at Hostess.
Mass layoffs continue to be a factor each month like including Ford in October, HP in May and Citigroup’s recent layoffs in December will likely play a factor in year-end totals.
“Job cuts this year have really been driven by a handful of large-scale cuts, said Rick Cobb, Executive Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The number of long-term unemployed, or workers who were jobless for at least 27 weeks, represents 40 percent of all unemployed U.S. workers and remained unchanged from the previous month at 4.8 million.
The Labor survey also reported that total employment was unchanged in November despite a combined increase of 1.3 million over the prior two months.