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Holiday hiring in November tops 2007 level

Shoppers navigate mall Black Friday OrlSquare Mall OrlPark Illinois Friday November 23 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media

Shoppers navigate the mall on Black Friday at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, Illinois, Friday, November 23, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media

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Updated: January 12, 2013 6:15AM



Retailers hired more seasonal workers during November than during any year-end holiday season on record, the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said Monday.

The firm said retailers added 465,500 seasonal workers last month. That barely topped the prior monthly mark set in November 2007, when retail payrolls grew by 465,400.

John Challenger, chief executive of the firm, said the busy hiring pace occurred despite economic worries, the impact on the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy and the continued growth of online commerce.

“An early Thanksgiving and the fact that many retailers started the traditional Black Friday sales on Thursday may have contributed to strong early holiday sales and the need for additional workers,” Challenger said. “Of course, more people working this holiday season could result in further retail sales gains as more Americans have more spending money in their pockets for gifts.”

His firm’s account is drawn from a review of non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The November job gains compared with 383,700 seasonal workers retailers hired in November 2011.

Counting October and November, retail employment grew by 610,700 jobs this year, up 19 percent from the same two-month period a year ago.

If retailers this December match the 147,600 hires made in December 2011, this year’s seasonal hiring would reach 760,000, which would be the strongest hiring season since 2000.



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