(Brian Wachter) – Nevada expected to add more than 4,000 seasonal retail positions
Retailers across the nation have begun announcing seasonal job opportunities, with hiring expected to be ongoing through Black Friday in November. Nationally, holiday hiring is expected to reach 700,000 in 2012, an increase of 6 percent compared to the 660,000 reported in 2011.
Generally, seasonal hiring reports from individual retailers are consistent with the prior year, with some reporting positive growth. The traditional department store has long been one of the largest employers of seasonal associates, and this year a few of the major establishments have announced plans to increase hiring over last year. Macy’s has reported that it will hire 80,000 seasonal associates nationwide, an increase of 2.5 percent compared to last year. Kohl’s plans to grow seasonal hires to 52,000 associates, a 10 percent increase compared to 2011.
Closely matching projections released by the Retail Association of Nevada at this time last year, the state added 4,100 retail positions between September and December of 2011, which represented growth of 3.2 percent in total employment in the sector. During the past five years, the Nevada retail sector grew by an average of 3.9 percent during the same time frame (from September to December of each year).
According to the most recent jobs data available, retail employment in Nevada is about even with levels reported at this time in 2011. As of August, retail employment totaled 128,400, an increase of 100 positions compared to the same month last year. Assuming seasonal hiring in 2012 is much like 2011, Nevada will add 4,100 retail positions from now through December. Should conditions prevail that are more in line with the longer-run historical average, the state will see a gain in retail positions closer to 5,000. Based on company announcements and news accounts thus far, it is likely that 2012 hiring levels will fall somewhere between the two.
Unfortunately, competition for available positions is expected to be as tough as it was during the last several holiday seasons. Currently, there are 164,100 unemployed Nevadans, down only slightly from levels reported around this time in 2011. Seasonal hiring will provide modest and short-term relief. As witnessed last year, the positive aspect of this situation is that many employers will be able to fill positions with well-qualified employees.
Thus far, several national retailers with locations in Nevada have publicly announced major seasonal hiring plans. Based on these announcements and other news accounts, the list below includes the estimated number of positions to be added in Nevada for this holiday season. Note that actual hiring activity may vary from estimates reported below depending on individual store needs.
• Amazon – 1,250 estimated seasonal hires at the fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada
• Macy’s/Bloomingdales – 900 estimated seasonal hires statewide
• Target – 900 estimated seasonal hires statewide
• Walmart – 500 estimated seasonal hires statewide
• Kohl’s Department Stores – 490 estimated seasonal hires statewide
• Toys ‘R’ Us – 250 estimated seasonal hires at the McCarran Distribution Center for store distribution, e-commerce in Reno, Nevada, and seasonal store positions statewide
• Best Buy – 150 estimated seasonal hires statewide
(Mr. Wachter is Director of Public and Government Affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada)