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November 2009 Retail Labor Index Report

Guest Blog from Kelly Northrop, Analytics Consultant at Kronos:

The November release of the Kronos Retail Labor Index includes results for both September and October 2009.  After an uptick in August to 3.00%, the September Index dropped to 2.58% (for every 100 applications received, 2.58 hirings occurred).  The September result coincided with a decrease in retail sales estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The October Index level rebounded somewhat, to 2.90%.  Actual application and hiring data for October gives us an early view into the holiday shopping and hiring season.  Kronos’ retail clients traditionally transact 25% or more of their total year’s hiring volume in October and November.  Because labor capacity can be quickly augmented, a retailer expecting a slow holiday sales season might delay hiring until sales begin to increase.

Our results indicate that retailers appear to be preparing for another weak holiday shopping season. Changes in labor capacity levels for Kronos clients reflect not only an overall downward trend since 2006, but also sequentially smaller increases in capacity during the holiday season in 2008, and now 2009.  In addition, September and October 2009 application totals were the highest since 2006, while hiring levels were the lowest since 2006.  Our December report will show whether November hirings increased to compensate for this early lack of volume, or whether diminished hiring activity continued throughout the season.

Click here for the full report.

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