While the holiday season historically yields an increase in shopping — and subsequent staff needed to accommodate — this year may look different for prospective seasonal workers.
Big-name retailers, such as Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, are cutting back on their seasonal hiring initiatives, scaling back their workforce after two years of increased foot traffic following the pandemic, The New York Times reported.
Macy’s plans to hire 38,000 workers, 3,000 fewer than its 2022 target — and far fewer than 2021 when Macy’s aimed to hire 76,000 people during the holiday season, both in permanent roles and seasonal jobs, according to the Times. Dick’s Sporting Goods intends to hire up to 8,600 seasonal workers, a slight increase from the 8,000 in 2019, but down from the 9,000 hired last year and the 10,000 in 2021.
A report from career coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas last month found that retailers are forecasted to hire 410,000 seasonal workers this coming holiday season, marking a 15-year low, Yahoo Finance reported in September. Some economists interpret these hiring trends as signs of the labor market cooling down from its pandemic-fueled boom two years ago.
“The seasonal hiring market looks a whole lot more like 2019 than those pandemic bounce-back years,” Nick Bunker, director of North American economic research for Indeed, told the Times. “I really do think this is emblematic broadly of what we’re seeing in the U.S. labor market, where demand for workers overall is fairly strong but down from where it was in the last year and a half.”
Meanwhile, searches for seasonal jobs have increased by 19 percent compared to last year, per data from Indeed, while the number of available positions has decreased by 6 percent, per The Times. Companies that assist businesses in finding temporary workers note that major retailers have been slower to announce their hiring plans this year, and fewer job postings are marked as “urgent” on Indeed.
However, one company is the exception to the scale-back hiring trend. Amazon announced last month that it would be hiring 250,000 seasonal employees, a 67% increase from hiring initiatives over the past two years.
The company is also adding signing bonuses of up to $3,000 for certain hires.