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Retail hiring slows sharply, according to study

While still above recession levels, retail hiring edged lower in May, according to the Kronos Retail Labor Index.

The index follows and reports on the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector. The June report includes data for May 2011.

According to the Index, retail hiring decreased to 3.5 percent in May from 3.7 percent in April 2011.

The retailers from 14,625 locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample recorded 38,335 hires (seasonally adjusted) in May 2011, down from a revised 39,656 hires in April 2011.

From a job seeker perspective, the Index shows that the number of applications received by retailers in the Kronos sample rose in May 2011, to 1,091,107 from a revised 1,085,646 in April 2011, all on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Retention is getting better, a sign of increased employer confidence. The 60-day retention rate rose to 84.7 percent in January (a record high) from 84.1 percent in December.

“The Kronos Retail Labor Index was nearly unchanged in May at 3.5 percent and has remained between 3 percent and 4 percent for ten of the last eleven months. This range characterizes a relatively good hiring environment, with nearly 30 fresh applicants for each hire. Hiring did edge lower in May, but remained strong compared to year-ago levels. Retailers in the Kronos sample hired nearly 22 percent more workers in May 2011 than they did a year earlier.”

The Kronos Retail Labor Index is released on a monthly basis. At www.kronos.com/retail-labor-index the full report can be accessed, along with a schedule of upcoming Retail Labor Index release dates; the Retail Labor Index methodology; and downloadable graphics.

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