Covid: Hiring slumps ahead of holiday season

US Companies are reportedly taking on less seasonal workers during this year’s holiday season, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Hiring for holiday season jobs in the US normally begins in September, but the amount of adverts for both retail and manufacturing jobs has stayed at a similar level over the last month, according to Reuters.

On Monday, AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist with the Indeed Hiring Lab, a research group at the job posting site Indeed, told Reuters that “hiring is shaping up differently from previous years”.

She added that seasonal job adverts were down 11 per cent from this time last year, because companies were concerned about future sales and store closures have left less opportunities available.

The type of jobs that are being advertised has also shifted this year, as the amount of postings for “loading and stocking” jobs has more than tripled from four per cent of all adverts in 2019 to 14 per cent in 2020.

However,  the amount of “customer service” jobs being advertised has fallen from five per cent of all jobs advertised in 2019 to two per cent this year, while “sales” job postings have dropped from 17 per cent last year to 10 per cent in 2020.

Although companies are posting less adverts for seasonal workers than last year, accounting firm Deloitte is expecting retail sales to increase by one per cent this holiday season compared to 2019.

The firm is also expecting more US citizens to do their shopping online instead of in-store this holiday season, due to fears around Covid-19.

Although the amount of people shopping online has increased steadily over the last decade, E-Commerce as a per cent of retail sales in the US has increased from 12 per cent in 2019 to 17 per cent this year, according to Reuters.

The amount of people looking for seasonal jobs this holiday season has also decreased 38 per cent from last year, despite high levels of unemployment.

Ms Konkel said that this seems “counterintuitive”, but added: “Most seasonal job opportunities require at least some face-to-face interaction and health concerns are still top of mind for many of those looking for work.”

Reuters reported that people looking for seasonal jobs are also searching for opportunities that enable them to work from home, so that they can still do their job even if coronavirus restrictions are brought in.

According to Johns Hopkins University some 7.7m people have now tested positive for coronavirus in the US and the death toll has reached 214,882.

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