Holiday jobs outlook full of good cheer

Sep 14, 2018

We're now exactly 10 weeks from Black Friday, and while many American consumers are probably only just starting to think about their holiday shopping, the companies that sell us our holiday presents have been thinking about it for a while. And what they're thinking is that it’s going to be a strong retail season, and that they’re getting ready to hire a lot of workers.

Seasonal hiring at retail chains and e-commerce fulfillment centers is already running hot, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Target, Macy’s and Fedex alone plan to hire 250,000 workers.

But there’s a lot of churn in the retail job market, said Andy Challenger, vice president at Challenger Gray & Christmas.

“Retailers have been the No. 1 announcer of job cuts as they close stores across the country," he said. At the same time, "they’re the No. 1 announcer of job hires, to serve e-commerce.”

Store jobs are disappearing in suburbs and small towns, where malls are shutting down. The strongest job growth is in warehouses in big cities and near transportation hubs, where e-commerce is booming. There, competition for seasonal workers is fierce.

Tim Gates at Adecco Staffing said employers are offering, “sign-on bonuses, completion bonuses, flexible schedules, [and] job-sharing” in an effort to recruit — and hold on to — workers.

Gates said many of his e-commerce clients started staffing-up for the holiday rush in mid-summer — a month earlier than last year.