graph linesDespite economic woes, November’s Superstorm Sandy, and a tense presidential election seasons, retailers reached a hiring level not seen in six years adding 728,300 jobs in Q4 2012; a 10.3 percent increase over-the-year. Hiring consulting firm Challenger, Gray Christmas CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement:

“More people are working, but many are still under-employed, and as a result, wages have remained stubbornly low; so spending power this year was not necessarily greater than a year ago. Additionally, more people are shopping online, where increased holiday demand is more easily met without adding a lot of seasonal workers. Yet, despite these factors, brick-and-mortar retailers moved forward with increased hiring.”

Most hiring took place in October and November with retailers adding nearly 150,000 jobs and almost 500,000 new workers. December lost some ground compared to 2011 as 88,300 workers were hired, down from 147,600 in December 2011. The hiring spree was aided by the strong push to move the holiday season to before Thanksgiving instead of Black Friday.

Established shopping centers (those open for at least one year) experienced a 3.1 percent rise in revenue during the period of November and December 2012, on par with predictions and an indicator of the overall health of the retail sector. Retail sales, excluding drug stores, rose 4.8 percent in December while e-commerce was up 14 percent for the entire holiday season.

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