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Seasonal job hiring has slowed, but when employers do make offers, they make them fast

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 06: A 'Now Hiring' sign is posted at a 7-Eleven store with a pedestrian reflected in the window on August 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The U.S. economy added over 900,000 jobs in July, the biggest monthly gain since August of last year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

So far, seasonal hiring appears to be down this year. Mario Tama/Getty Images

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We’ve heard all about the tight labor market — near-record job openings and employers struggling to hire. We’ve heard about consumers — still spending pretty strongly, even though they’re grumpy about high inflation and rising interest rates. 

For seasonal retail and e-commerce hiring, it all adds up to a somewhat downbeat outlook.

So far this fall, retail stores have hired around 25% fewer seasonal workers than last year. Warehouse-and-delivery hiring is down by more than 40%. That’s according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

The company’s senior vice president Andy Challenger said employers are already pretty well-staffed, and they’re uncertain “about what consumer spending is going to be like this holiday season in the face of strong inflationary headwinds. They’re not going to want to be holding onto a huge number of extra employees at a high wage.”

There’s been virtually no increase in retail job postings at ZipRecruiter this fall. And when jobs come up, said chief economist Julia Pollak, “companies are competing for talent by speeding up the hiring process, stripping out any irrelevant requirements and giving people offers right away.”

Pollak said some companies are dispensing with interviews and background checks altogether, and responding to applicants with a job offer within the hour.

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