Retail Hiring Down in April; Partly a Result of Early Warm Weather Hiring in February
CHELMSFORD, Mass., May 3, 2012 — Kronos Incorporated today announced the May release of the Kronos® Retail Labor Index™, a family of metrics and indices that characterize the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector. The May report includes data for April 2012. The analysis and write-up are prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, and are available on the Kronos Retail Labor Index website.
- The Kronos Retail Labor Index: (This index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0 percent means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred). The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down to 3.8 percent in April from a March level that was revised three-tenths lower. Even with declines over the last two months, the Retail Labor Index remains above levels seen over the last few years, averaging 4.0 percent over the first four months of this year, up from 3.5 percent last year.
- Retail Hiring Level: The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronosdata sample made 31,862 hires (seasonally adjusted) in April down from 33,209 in March. The two months of declining numbers followed a strong, nearly 11 percent gain in hires in February to the highest level since October 2008. The February reading may have been in part boosted by unseasonably mild winter weather. If the mild winter weather led firms to pull hires forward into February, this could explain some of the weakness seen in subsequent months.
- Retail Applications Level: The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample rose 1.6 percent to 843,653 in April from an upwardly revised 830,668 in March, all on a seasonally adjusted basis. Even with the small gain, the level of applications in April was down roughly 145,500 from its level one year ago.
- Retail 60-Day Retention Rate: The 60-day retention rate, measured as the number of hires who remain employed for at least the first 60 days divided by the total number of hires made in that month, rose to 84.0 percent (seasonally adjusted) in December 2011 from 83.0 percent in November 2011. (Note: There is a four-month lag on this indicator as two months are required to measure whether a hire remained employed for 60 days and Kronos customers have two months to return data on separations.)
- Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers
“The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down two-tenths to a still solid 3.8 percent in April, reflecting a moderate decline in hires and a small gain in applications. This was the second consecutive decline in hires, following a strong, nearly 11 percent gain in February. Hiring in February may have been boosted by the unseasonably warm weather experienced this winter, pulling some spring hires forward and helping to explain some of the subsequent declines in March and April. In addition, readings on retail sales and chain-store sales through March were strong and above expectations, suggesting business conditions for retail firms are improving. We look for the pace of hiring at retail firms to pick up in the coming months as this sector continues to strengthen.”
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