It will be harder to get a holiday job this year

  • People looking for an extra paycheck for the holidays are ready to line up for seasonal work.
  • This year, economists say companies are hesitant to hire more workers amid fears of inflation and recession.
  • Warehouse and driver jobs will be the most in-demand, ZipRecruiter found.

It’s hiring time for the holidays with various positions waiting to be filled, from truckers and delivery drivers to holiday-specific jobs like gift wrapping, and people are eager to find work. But big retailers could be slower to add temporary help this holiday season than in years past.

A new report from Indeed Hiring Lab suggests that more people are considering a seasonal job compared to last year or even 2020 based on search data. The report says that “as of the end of September 2022, Indeed’s share of seasonal job searches increased 33% from the same period in 2021 and 13% from 2020,” though that share is still lower than in 2019.

Despite the enthusiasm for vacation work, economists at various career sites agree that seasonal hiring doesn’t look all that appealing this year.

For example, Macy’s plans to hire fewer temporary workers this year compared to last year, as Insider’s Avery Hartmans reported. Target has a similar hiring goal as last year; plans to hire up to 100,000 temporary workers. US retail employment overall fell by 1,100 from August to September according to payroll data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Although we typically see a seasonal increase in jobs in the retail industry, as well as transportation/logistics, if the hiring trends we’re seeing over the past few months, and what we saw last year, are any indication, we won’t.” I see such a huge opportunity for seasonal workers this year, even as we dig deeper into holiday hiring,” Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn, said in a statement to Insider.

And according to another economist, the holiday cheer is looking pretty bleak for employers.

“U.S. employers have typically added 3.5 to 4 million jobs to their payrolls in recent years as they prepare for the holiday season,” Aaron Terrazas, chief economist, said in a statement. from Glassdoor. “The Christmas outlook is clearly less cheerful this year amid a challenging macroeconomic climate.”

It’s certainly not all bad news for job seekers this holiday season. Cory Stahle, an economist at Indeed and author of the new report, described the holiday hiring season as “fresher than last year, but still going strong.” Stahle added, “there are still a lot of opportunities that we’re looking at.”

ZipRecruiter data shared with Insider shows that there is especially strong demand for truckers who are needed to help with the bustling holiday season. UPS plans to hire more than 100,000 temporary workers, for example.

ZipRecruiter’s industry-level data also shows that seasonal hiring vacancies from August through mid-October are especially high in travel, transportation, and warehousing. But the US jobs report released earlier this month showed payrolls fell for the month in transportation and warehousing in September.

“The transportation sector has been in a deflationary spiral since the middle of the year and logistics companies have started to lay off workers at a time of year when they are generally hiring aggressively,” Terrazas said in a statement.

Car dealers may also be altering hiring plans. ZipRecruiter Chief Economist Julia Pollak said people may not be looking to buy expensive gifts like cars this holiday season. Employment at car dealerships fell in September, according to BLS data. It’s just one type of company that she thinks “are more nervous because it’s those high-value items that are the most volatile and most susceptible to changes in sentiment, and inflation is hitting them the hardest.”

“Overall, with the economy tightening and many people having less money to spend, we expect holiday hiring to continue to decline compared to last year,” Berger said in a statement.

People may be looking for seasonal work because of rising prices, but the economy can also affect workers’ bargaining power.

Pollak said one of the reasons hiring is off to a “relatively slow and cautious start” is because “there is tremendous uncertainty and the Fed is saying there is going to be a recession and companies don’t want to be caught off guard and overreacted.” . hire too much and then see demand drop because of what’s happening in the broader economy.”

With year-over-year inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, running at about 8%, some Americans may be turning in their résumés for seasonal jobs as a result of rising prices.

“If they’re faced with inflation and this rising cost of living, there’s definitely some chance that those higher prices will prompt them to look for something like a seasonal job to increase their household income.” Stahl said.

Job seekers may also be looking for work because they are comfortable again with in-person roles given the current lower level of coronavirus cases than they have been in the past two years, Stahle added.

Stahle said the outcome of a continued tight labor market and job seekers in part “pressured by economic forces” could mean “temporary workers will have maybe a little less bargaining power this year than they did last year.” . Stahle added, “the hiring incentives, for example, last year that may not be as plentiful or available this year.”

Fewer employers are feeling urgent hiring pressure than last year amid a tight job market. According to Indeed’s report, about 10% of seasonal job postings said they were hiring urgently during the week ending September 30, 2021. In 2022, that proportion is about 6%. Recession fears may be contributing to this less urgent need and fewer incentives, Stahle said, as employers wait to see what happens in the economy.

Employers may have trouble getting new workers to join their teams

Pollak said many candidates “are not particularly desperate for work.” Pollak noted that the average unemployed worker has spent less time out of work than before the pandemic, so it may be “more difficult to motivate yourself to accept offers” from these job seekers. She said it “remains one of the best job seeker markets of all time.”

At the same time, Indeed’s new report shows that with so much interest in seasonal work this year, it could be great for employers looking to hire staff this holiday season, though it may not be as ideal for job seekers. .

“The combination of rising interest from job seekers and cooling demand from employers suggests that workers may have less of an advantage in finding temporary jobs this year,” Stahle wrote in the report. “Meanwhile, employers can benefit from a larger pool of potential candidates competing for fewer positions than they did a year ago.”

Overall, job openings in the US remain high, although vacancies fell from July to August. And layoffs remain low even as CEOs and other workers worry about a recession.

“What we’re seeing within seasonal hiring is very much a reflection of what we’re seeing in the broader labor market,” Stahle told Insider. “We’re seeing that employers are pulling back on postings a little bit, but those postings are still well above what we saw before the pandemic.”

Did you apply for a vacation hiring position for financial reasons? Was it difficult for you to find seasonal work? Is inflation affecting your Christmas shopping? Email this reporter at

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