Outlook Bleak for Holiday Hiring

Pessimistic retailers plan to slash seasonal jobs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 1:22 AM CDT
A holiday shopper passes a display in Kiehl's, a store in the Fourth Street shopping district of Berkeley, Calif., last year.   (AP Photo/Dino Vournas)
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(Newser) – Retail jobs are expected to be in short supply even as the holiday shopping season approaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 40% of retail chains surveyed say they plan to hire fewer workers this year than they did last year when the recession forced many to cut staffing levels. A third of retailers expect a year-to-year drop in sales, and another third predict sales will remain flat.

A surge in retail hiring for the holiday season usually adds some 700,000 temporary jobs to the economy, but that's expected to be down by as much as 100,000 this year just as retailers say they are receiving more applications for seasonal work than usual. Economists warn that retailers' low expectations for holiday sales may become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, with continued high unemployment damaging consumer confidence —and retail sales.