According to workforce management company Kronos, the Retail Labor Index increased to 3.87 percent in November. The rate was the highest the index has seen in 2009, and roughly translates to mean that nearly four hirings occurred for every 100 applications received at retailers.
The survey also found that there were 49,412 hires in November, 8.49 percent more than were seen in October, a decrease of 317,088 applications turned in over the course of he month
While Dr. Robert Yarex, Kronos chief economist, called the rise in the index a "positive sign" for retailers as well as those who are consolidating debt and looking for work, he added that it was not necessarily indicative of the index growing further in 2010.
"Since 2006, the level of applications received by retailers from September through November each year has increased, but the cumulative number of hirings made over the same period has decreased," he said. "This indicates that retailers are expecting the 2009 winter holiday retail season to be weaker than each of the previous three years, and in response, delayed their surge in holiday season hiring by two weeks as compared with previous years."
Regardless of the long-term results, the nation’s employment situation did improve slightly as the holiday season got underway. The unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 10 percent in November after hitting its highest point in 26 years the month prior.