A pedestrian walk by a now hiring sign posted in the window of a business in San Rafael, California. 
A pedestrian walk by a now hiring sign posted in the window of a business in San Rafael, California.  - 
Listen To The Story

Even in the depths of the recession, retailers hired several hundred thousand extra workers to stock shelves and run registers during the holiday shopping season. This year, it will be double that. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts retailers including Amazon, UPS, Fedex, Macy’s, Target, GameStop, and others will have added as many as 800,000 seasonal workers from October through Decembermore than any year since 2000.

CEO John Challenger points out that with Black Friday losing its prominence and consumers spreading their shopping out right up until Christmas, retailers are continuing to hire as store traffic warrants well into December.

And he notes that 2014 has been a good year for non-seasonal hiring as well. “Three million more people are working now than in November 2013,” says Challenger. "And that adds to the spending power of American consumers during the holiday season.”

Many seasonal retail jobs are low-wage and part-time. But Kristy Stromberg at job-search site simplyhired.com says limited hours aren’t necessarily a bad thing: “Some people are looking for that. One of our highest job-search keywords is ‘part-time.’”

The work is also mostly temporary. “For the most part,” says Challenger, “the jobs added to the economy go away in February and March.” He estimates one in ten seasonal retail workers ends up being hired on permanently after the holiday shopping surge is over.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy