Holiday Hiring Is Early and Strong This Year

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Here’s some good news on the employment front:

Retailers geared up to hire holiday-season workers in August this year, an unusually early start showing how competition has intensified for temporary help in a tight labor market….Companies and analysts say a number of trends are converging. The holiday-shopping season is starting before Halloween for many consumers, rather than the traditional day after Thanksgiving. There are fewer workers available, due to unemployment holding around 5% for the past year. And retailers are competing for the same employees as logistics firms, distribution centers and restaurants during the final months of the year.

This story is accompanied by a chart that inexplicably shows that seasonal hiring was strong in 2014, weaker in 2015, and then stronger still in 2016. Really? I don’t recall 2015 being weaker than both 2014 and 2016. So take this all with a grain of salt.

Still, it’s yet another data point that the labor market is truly starting to tighten up this year. It still has a ways to go, but we’re making progress.

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