Holiday Hiring is in Full Swing

Joe Weinlick
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Businesses, employees and consumers all know the winter holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year due to millions of Americans who give gifts during winter celebrations. Behind the joy and good cheer of Black Friday sales are the massive amounts of holiday hiring and temporary jobs for workers who need extra hours. A look at some 2013 data explains the winter shopping season in terms of employment figures.

An infographic posted by shows just how prosperous holiday shopping has become for companies, consumers and job seekers. Businesses begin planning for the frenzy as early as July and August, and some businesses start holiday hiring as early as September. In the fourth quarter of 2013, companies hired as many as 868,600 new retail shopping employees out of more than 1.7 million private sector hires over that same span. November and December shopping accounted for 50 percent of all hiring activity during the three-month period.

A vast majority of holiday hiring involves temporary jobs in the retail industry. In 2013, more than 34 percent, or one-third of all new temp workers, signed on with hobby, toy and game stores. Another 13 percent of holiday temporary laborers belonged to clothing retailers, 12 percent worked for department stores and nearly 9.5 percent were employed by sporting goods outlets.

Some of America's largest retailers also hired the most people for the shopping season. The top five stores in the United States employed nearly 300,000 more workers, or 35 percent of the overall fourth quarter employment figure, to cope with demand in 2013. Macy's holiday hiring boosted its payroll by 83,000 workers, or 47 percent more staff. Target grew by 70,000 workers. Walmart was third with 55,000 new workers, despite its rank as the world's largest retailer. Kohl's and JC Penney added tens of thousands more people to their holiday labor pools.

The "big three" shipping companies had a holiday hiring bonanza in 2013. UPS gave work to 85,000 more people to deliver an extra 132 million packages. FedEx added 20,000 people to deliver 275 million more parcels. The U.S. Postal Service delivered 420 million more packages and added 10,000 hires to help. A whopping 73 million boxes were delivered Dec. 24, 2013, and 96 percent of them were on time thanks to extra employees.

The 2014 holiday shopping season may be a record-breaker thanks to a better economy, lower gas prices and consumer confidence returning for American workers. Mobile spending continues to rise, and more stores were open on Thanksgiving. Nearly one-half of American consumers planned to shop sometime before 5 a.m. on Black Friday 2014, according to a survey by Accenture.

Consumers spent $602 billion on holiday shopping, or approximately 20 percent of annual retail sales, in 2013. When holiday hiring and winter spending rise, the figures portend the overall shape of the U.S. economy going into the next year. Everybody wins because companies hire more people, employees make more money and retailers bring in extra revenue. The added hires, in turn, spend that money on the very retail stores that employed them.


Photo courtesy of zenjazzygeek at



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