Retail employment grew by a nonseasonally adjusted total of 180,600 last month, the biggest net gain in October since data began being collected in 1939 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase was 13% higher than the 160,000 employees added during the same time last year.
“Strong October hiring does not guarantee that holiday hiring will surpass last year’s level, but it is certainly a good sign,” says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger Gray & Christmas. “We have seen steady increases in the number of seasonal workers hired since 2008, when recession-ravaged retailers added 324,900 seasonal workers in the final quarter of the year. Holiday hiring returned to prerecession levels in 2012 and, in 2013, saw the strongest job gains since 2000.”