By Tatiana Walk-Morris of RetailDive
Amid the early holiday shopping season, retailers have cut 72,182 jobs through October, a 258% increase from the 20,191 jobs eliminated in 2022, according to a new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This marks the most significant number of job cuts since retailers cut 179,520 jobs in October 2020.
Among the industries reducing their workforce this year, retail ranks second behind technology (158,513) and ahead of healthcare/products (54,429), warehousing (47,750) and financial services (47,094).
Amazon is planning to hire 250,000 seasonal workers this year, followed by Target (100,000), UPS (100,000), Macy’s (38,000) and Bath & Body Works (32,500), per the report.
While retailers are preparing for the busiest season of the year, the industry, alongside the overall labor force, appears to be reducing its workforce compared to a year ago. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ report, U.S. employers eliminated 36,836 jobs in October, down 22% from the previous cuts announced in September but 9% higher than a year ago.
Retail hiring has been slowing in recent months, other reports suggest. According to talent acquisition technology firm iCIMS, retail hiring and job openings in September dipped 12% and 25% respectively, but job applications jumped 46% from last year.
“Job cut plans have slowed significantly since the first half of the year, and consumers have continued to spend, even in the face of high inflation. Pandemic savings and higher wages have gotten many workers through economic uncertainty,” Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.
Despite the industry’s overall workforce reduction, some retailers are either tapping into their existing workforce or preparing to hire some seasonal employees. After hiring workers throughout the year, Maren Dollwet Waggoner, senior vice president of end-to-end operations people at Walmart U.S., said in a LinkedIn post that Walmart currently has the staff needed to serve customers this holiday season because it has been hiring throughout the year. Though Amazon is hiring the most seasonal staff, other major retailers, including Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Burlington, are hiring thousands of workers ahead of the holidays.