Retailers are likely to hire the same or possibly fewer seasonal workers for the year-end holidays as they hired in 2010, outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Friday.
The forecast comes in the wake of flat retail sales in August and consumer expectations falling to the lowest level since 1980 in a survey released on Friday.
Retail employment grew by 627,000 jobs from October through December in 2010, challenger said in a news release. That was up 27 percent from 2009 and nearly double the 26-year low set in the midst of the recession in 2008.
"It would be surprising if holiday hiring exceeded last year's level," John Challenger, chief executive of the firm, said.
"Employment gains most definitely will not reach pre-recession levels, which averaged around 720,000 extra seasonal workers added from October through December. Most indications so far point to about the same level of hiring as last year."
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman in Chicago; Editing by Richard Chang)