As a record number of people quit their jobs, labor shortages are becoming an even bigger problem for retailers who need to keep stores staffed this holiday season.
Roughly 4.2 million people, or 2.8% of U.S. workers, quit their jobs in October, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities and finance saw the most quits in October.
The number of people who quit their retail jobs in October was 683,0000, at a rate of 4.4%. While this number was slightly down from the roughly 685,0000 retail workers who left their jobs in September, mass quitting is still intensifying labor shortages across the industry.
In October, retail added 35,000 jobs but lost 20,000 jobs in November, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since July, the U.S. has added a net total of just less than 40,000 retail jobs, which accounts for gains in October as well as losses in August, July, and November. 721,000 retail workers left their jobs in August.
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, Walmart, Kohl’s, Dick’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.