It’ll Be Harder to Land a Holiday Job This Year


  • People looking for extra holiday pay are ready for seasonal work.
  • Economists say this year that companies are reluctant to bring in more workers amid fears of inflation and recession.
  • ZipRecruiter has found that warehouse and driver jobs will be most in demand.

It’s holiday rental time with many posts waiting to be filled, from trucks and delivery drivers to holiday-specific jobs like gift wrapping, and people are eager to find work. But major retailers may be slower to add temporary help this holiday season than in years past.

A new report from the Career Lab already indicates that more people are considering a seasonal job than last year or even 2020, according to research data. The report says that “at the end of September 2022, the proportion of seasonal job searches on Indeed was up 33% over the same period in 2021 and 13% over 2020,” although this share is still lower than in 2019. .

Despite being careful about holiday work, economists from various job sites agree that seasonal hiring doesn’t look very interesting this year.

For example, Macy’s plans to hire fewer seasonal workers this year than last year, Insider’s Avery Hartmans reported. Target has a similar recruitment target as last year; It plans to employ up to 100,000 seasonal workers. Retail employment in the United States overall fell by 1,100 from August to September according to salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“While we typically see a seasonal increase in jobs in the retail industry, as well as in transportation/logistics, if the employment trends that we’ve seen over the past few months — and what we’ve seen last year — are any indication, we win,” said Jay Berger, LinkedIn’s chief economist. “I don’t see much opportunity for seasonal workers this year, even as we delve deeper into furlough hiring,” in a statement to Insider.

According to another economist, holiday cheer seems too bleak for employers.

“In recent years, American employers have typically added 3.5-4 million jobs to their payrolls as they prepare for the holiday season,” Aaron Terrazas, chief economist at Glassdoor, said in a statement. “The holiday outlook is significantly less cheerful this year amid a challenging macroeconomic environment.”

It’s certainly not exactly bad news for people looking for a job this holiday season. Cory Stahl, an economist and author of the new report, described the holiday hiring season as “cooler than last year, but still strong.” “There are still a lot of opportunities to see,” Stahl added.

Data from ZipRecruiter shared with Insider shows that there is particularly strong demand for truck drivers needed to help out during the tumultuous holiday season. UPS plans to hire more than 100,000 seasonal workers, for example.

Industry-wide data from ZipRecruiter also shows that seasonal employment opportunities from August to mid-October are particularly high in travel as well as transportation and warehousing. But the US jobs report released earlier this month showed payrolls fell during 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 are beginning to lay off workers at the time of the year when they typically hire aggressively,” Terrazas said in a statement.

Auto dealerships may also change hiring plans. Julia Pollack, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, said people may not be looking forward to buying expensive gifts like cars this holiday. Employment at auto dealers declined in September, according to BLS data. It’s just one type of company that thinks it’s “more nervous because those big-ticket commodities are the most volatile and most susceptible to changes in sentiment, and inflation is kind of having an impact on the toughest ones.”

“Overall, with a tighter economy and fewer people spending, we expect holiday employment to continue to decline compared to last year,” Berger said in a statement.

People may look for a seasonal job due to higher prices, but the economy may also affect workers’ bargaining power

Pollack said one of the reasons hiring has been “relatively slow and cautious” is because “there’s a lot of uncertainty and the Fed is saying there’s going to be deflation and companies won’t want to get caught up in uncertainty — hiring a lot and then we see demand go down. Because of what’s happening in the broader economy.”

With annual inflation measured by the CPI close to 8%, some Americans may be handing out resumes for seasonal work as a result of higher prices.

“If they’re facing inflation and they’re experiencing this rising cost of living, there’s definitely some chance that those higher prices will push them to look for something like seasonal work to sort of raise their family’s income.” Stahl said.

Stahl added that job applicants may also be looking for work as they are again comfortable with personal roles given the current low level of coronavirus cases compared to the past two years.

The result of a tight labor market and partly job seekers “under pressure from economic forces,” Stahl said, could mean that “seasonal workers will probably have a little less bargaining power this year than they did last year.” Employment incentives, Stahl added, For example, last year that was there probably won’t be available or available this year.”

Fewer employers are feeling the pressure to hire more urgently than a year ago amid a tight job market. According to Indeed, about 10% of seasonal hiring jobs indicated that they were hiring urgently during the week ending September 30 in 2021. In 2022, that share was around 6%. Stahl said recession fears may contribute to this less urgent need and lack of incentives, as employers wait to see what happens in the economy.

Employers may have difficulty getting new workers to join their teams

Pollack said many of the candidates “are not particularly in urgent need of work.” Pollack noted that the average unemployed worker has spent less time outside of work than before the pandemic, so it may be “difficult to motivate to accept offers” from these job seekers. She said it “remains one of the best job seekers market ever”.

At the same time, the new report from Indeed shows that with a lot of interest this year in seasonal work, this could be great for companies looking to hire employees this holiday season - although it may not be ideal for applicants.

“The combination of increased interest in job seekers and a cooling in employer demand suggests that workers may have fewer advantages in looking for seasonal jobs this year,” Stahl wrote in the report. “In the meantime, employers may benefit from a larger pool of potential applicants competing for fewer jobs than last year.”

In general, job prospects in the US remain high despite the drop in job opportunities from July to August. And layoffs remain low even as CEOs and other workers worry about the economic stagnation.

“What we see within seasonal employment is very much a reflection of what we see in the labor market in general,” Stahl told Insider. “We’re kind of seeing employers pull back a little bit from hiring, but the presence of these hirings is still much higher than what we saw before the pandemic.”

Have you applied for a vacation employment position for economic reasons? Have you had trouble finding seasonal work? Is inflation affecting your holiday shopping? Send this reporter to [email protected].