685,0000 Retail Workers Quit Their Jobs in September, Exacerbating Labor Shortages Ahead of the Holidays

As a record number of people quit their jobs, labor shortages are becoming an even bigger problem for retailers who need to staff up this holiday season.

Roughly 4.4 million people, or 3% of U.S. workers, quit their jobs in September, according to data released on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail and the food service industries saw the most turnover in September.

The number of people who quit their retail jobs in September was 685,0000, at a rate of 4.4%. While this number was down from the 721,000 retail workers who left their jobs in August, mass quitting is still exacerbating existing labor shortages across the industry.

In September, retail added 56,000 after two months of little growth, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since July, the U.S. has added a net total of just 56,000 retail jobs, which accounts for gains in October as well as losses in August and July. These added retail jobs represent a fraction of the roles that retailers have targeted to fill this year amid a general labor shortage across the industry.

Altogether, WalmartKohl’sDick’s Sporting Goods, Lululemon, Target, Belk, Nordstrom, and Macy’s Inc. have announced hiring goals that collectively total over 500,000 jobs across stores, warehouses, and call centers.

A reluctance for workers to return to stressful retail jobs with low pay and unreliable hours has led to a major labor shortage across the retail industry. To attract and retain talent, some retailers have introduced increased pay, benefits and sign-on bonuses and have held hiring events to attract enough workers to meet consumer demand this season.

Amazon missed earnings estimates in Q3, partly as a result of costs related to inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain slowdowns. Amazon offers workers a starting salary of of up to $18 per hour with an additional $3 per hour depending on location. It also offers sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000. Macy’s recently announced that it would boost its minimum pay to $15 per hour and launch a tuition benefit program for all U.S.-based salaried and hourly employees. At Kohl’s, hourly store, distribution center and e-commerce fulfillment center employees who work through the holidays will be eligible for a bonus of between $100 and $400.

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