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Christmas is on hold: store hiring plans for the holidays are lowest since 2008

new York

Santa may be short of helpers this Christmas.

U.S. retailers are expected to create just 410,000 seasonal positions for this year’s holiday season, according to an estimate from outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This would be the lowest seasonal hiring total in the sector since 2008.

Despite historically high inflation and rumors of a recession, U.S. consumers have continued to splurge this year – but that may be coming to an end, retailers warned in their latest earnings reports.

Big-box retailers like Target and Home Depot said customers have all but given up on discretionary purchases, shifting most of their money to must-haves, including groceries.

But that doesn’t mean Americans aren’t spending. They simply don’t buy things that can be stored in a stocking, such as international travel, restaurants and other leisure activities.

While most big names have usually announced their hiring plans around this time of year, the majority have yet to do so, according to Challenger.

Last year, U.S. retailers created 509,300 jobs for the holiday season. In 2021, approximately 701,400 seasonal jobs were created.

Of the major retailers that have announced hiring plans, Amazon is so far the only one to announce an increase in its workforce, adding 250,000 employees before the holiday season, a significant increase from last year’s vacation.

This is the largest group of hires Amazon would have for the holidays. In 2019, the company announced it would hire 200,000 people.

It also increases the average wage to $20.50 per hour.

Last year, the company announced it would hire 150,000 people for the holidays. These employees averaged more than $19 an hour, an increase of about a dollar.

Amazon is looking for full-time, part-time and seasonal employees to store, pick, pack, sort and ship customer orders at centers across the country. Employees can earn between $17 and $28 and earn sign-on bonuses between $1,000 and $3,000 in select locations. The company said it would invest more than $1 billion in the wage initiative.

Target said it was maintaining its holiday hiring plans at 100,000 people, while Macy’s announced plans to hire 3,000 fewer people, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM hopes to hire 8,000 workers for the 2023 holiday season, the same number as the previous year.

UPS, which has hired 100,000 seasonal workers in previous years, has not announced its hiring plans after narrowly avoiding a Teamsters strike. However, he posted job openings online.

Challenger cautioned that the survey represents companies’ plans, which may change as consumer demand evolves. If holiday shopping comes in ahead of estimates, retailers could potentially hire more staff.

Challenger’s estimates also don’t include grocery giant Kroger, which said it would hire “thousands of people.”