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Kronos Labor Index reports surge in seasonal hiring

The Kronos Retail Labor Index, an analysis of the relationship between the demand and supply sides of the retail labor market, released December results today.

The Index increased significantly this month to 3.8 percent, up 28 percent from last month’s figure of 3.0 percent.

Retail hiring surged dramatically due to the holiday season. in November, the Index recorded a 77.5 percent increase over the October 2010 seasonally adjusted figure of 31,569. This was also a 9.8 percent increase over the 51,037 hirings that occurred in November 2009.

Job applications were up significantly as well, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 1,457,264 in November. The November figure represented a 38.4 percent increase over the 1,052,765 applications processed in October 2010.

Employee retention increased slightly in November with the number of employees remaining on the job 60 days or more rising to 83.2 percent, an increase of .45 percent from October 2010, and a small decrease of .27 percent compared with November 2009.

“Despite the significant increase in the Index this month, overall holiday hiring appears to be on a trajectory that will bring it in at a level only slightly above last year’s, and well below the peak holiday season hiring year of 2006,” said Dr. Robert Yerex, chief economist at Kronos. “Each year, the ‘peak point’ for holiday hiring comes later and later. We believe this is a result of two factors: retailers not feeling pressure to hire early because of access to a larger pool of workers due to the high unemployment rate; and the increasing use of technology by retailers to better manage the staff they already have.”

The retailers in the Index represent 27,034 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample recorded 56,028 hirings.

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