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Challenger: Holiday Retail Hiring Jumped 15% On Year, Nearing 2007 Levels

Dow Jones Newswires (01/09/12) Lamar, Mia

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reports that retail hiring for the holidays jumped 15% over the same period in 2010. The sector recorded a net gain of 718,500 workers over the final three months of the year, according to the firm’s analysis of employment data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, just short of the 720,800 workers added in 2007, when the U.S. economy was still relatively strong.

Job gains in the retail sector this year were better than anticipated, according to the firm’s chief executive, John Challenger, who noted early sales and strong performance on the Black Friday sales day likely contributed to added workers in December. Still, he cautioned those gains could fade in the months ahead. “Now, the question is whether the consumer will go into post-holiday hibernation. Several retail experts have predicted that this year could see particularly weak January sales, as Americans try to recover from holiday spending, much of which was on credit cards,” Challenger stated.