Retailers and shippers, including retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, are keeping their holiday hiring in check. Wal-Mart says it plans to hire 60,000 seasonal employees in the United States, as it did last year.
Retailers will hire some 755,000 for the holiday season, even with last year, according to employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
There may be less of a need for temporary workers this year because retailers have stepped up their hiring throughout the year. Plus, increased web sales mean that fewer workers are needed in stores.
The reports of damp seasonal hiring from retailers and shippers are a mixed bag, with retailers and shippers saying they don’t need as many hires, yet with some reports that lower holiday employment could put pressure on deliveries.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas had predicted that retailers would hire more than 800,000 last year, but holiday payrolls didn’t grow that large. The firm found that retailers have changed their approach to hiring in the face of growing e-commerce.
"In addition to steady hiring leading up to the holiday season, changes in the way consumers shop are making it possible for stores to meet increased holiday demand with fewer extra workers," says the firm’s current report. "When retailers do add holiday workers, fewer of those jobs are in traditional spots, such as sales clerk or cashier."
Indeed, some retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us, say that current employees will be offered more hours in place of hiring new temporary workers. Retailers also seem to be girding themselves against slower in-store holiday sales, expecting more omnichannel sales. Wal-Mart, for example, is hiring managers to oversee in-store pickups of online orders.
CNBC has a running tally of retailer holiday hiring plans, which is updated as information comes in.