Dick’s Sporting Goods and Macy’s are two of many major retailers hiring fewer seasonal workers this year, indicating a gloomy outlook for what traditionally is retailers’ make-or-break selling period.
Macy’s will hire 38,000 temps, about 3,000 fewer than last year; Dick’s is planning on 8,600 seasonal workers, compared to 10,000 in 2021.
If Walmart stores need extra holiday help, they first will offer extra hours to existing employees before looking externally, the company has said.
Amazon is a striking exception, looking to add 250,000 holiday helpers this year. Last year, the company took on 150,000.
Jobs website Indeed reported searches for seasonal work were up 19 percent this year over last, but seasonal jobs listed were 6 percent fewer and, among those, fewer cited an “urgent” need.
As we reported in “Recession Coming? Retailers Hiring Fewest Seasonal Workers Since Panic of ‘08” (19 Sep 2023), U.S. retailers plan to hire the smallest number of seasonal workers since 2008 because of higher labor costs and uncertainty over consumers’ holiday spending, according to a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CGC) obtained by Reuters.
Retailers will take on about 410,000 workers for this winter’s holiday season, according to CGC’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That figure is only slightly higher than the 324,900 added during the last quarter of 2008 when the Great Recession was at its depths. A year ago, retailers added 519,400 temps, 26 percent fewer than during the same time in 2021.
“There is definitely more tightening around companies wanting to hold off hiring unless they really need to,” Yong Kim, founder of placement service Wonolo, said to The Wall Street Journal. They want to wait to see how the season and quarter play out, he added.
TREND FORECAST: The degree of weakness in holiday sales will be a bellwether of how soon a U.S. recession might arrive and how strong it will be.