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November retail hiring numbers strongest on record

The job market had a record-breaking month in November.

According to a report from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, retailers added 465,500 seasonal workers last month, the most ever for November.

The net gain in retail employment achieved last month barely surpassed the previous record set in 2007, when retail payrolls grew by 465,400 workers during the month of November.

Job gains were up 21 percent from the 383,700 seasonal workers hired by retailers a year ago. Retail employment has grown by a total of 610,700 in October and November, up 19 percent from 512,600 in the same two-month period a year ago.

“Despite all of the uncertainty, all the talk of fiscal cliffs, the widespread damage to retail epicenters on the east coast by Hurricane Sandy, and the continued growth of e-commerce, retailers are hiring holiday workers in record numbers,” said John A. Challenger, COO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Last year, retail employment increased by 147,600 in December. Even if retailers simply match that level of hiring activity, seasonal hiring this year could reach nearly 760,000. If that occurs, it would the strongest retail holiday hiring season since 2000, when 788,100 seasonal workers were added to retail payrolls.

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Sam Barron is a former reporter for The Westchester county Business Journal.

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