Holiday hiring surge weak

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The holiday season usually means employment, even if only temporary, for a lot of American job seekers, but not as many are finding work this year.

October typically marks the beginning of the holiday hiring surge, but less than 72,000 seasonal job seekers found new jobs during October – a rate that’s shaping up to be the lowest holiday hiring level in a decade, according to analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Challenger Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Analysts were surprised to see the hiring season likely will be worse than during 2001, because weak October sales for retailers will probably make them more reluctant to hire extra workers.

Nationwide employment among retailers in all categories grew by 71,700 jobs during October, compared to the 95,700 new workers in October 2001.

After retail employment rose by 721,200 jobs last year, it decreased by 818,000 in the beginning of 2006. In 2005, retailers added approximately 711,400 seasonal workers and cut 871,100 in January and February.