The July 2012 release of the Kronos Retail Labor Index has uncovered a bevy of statistics regarding the current state of labor market in the retail sector. Key facts found in the report included the following:

• The Retail Labor Index (RLI) ticked up 0.1 percent in June rising from 4.1 percent in May to 4.2 percent in June reflecting a continued decline in applications and hiring. The RLI is a ratio between hires and applications. June numbers report that for every 100 applications, four applicants were hired.

• The 18,362 retail locations represented in the Index made 33,473 hires in June 2012, the lowest number since last October however, for the year, firms are hiring an average of 5 percent more employees than last year about nearly 10 percent over the average number in 2010.

• The number of received applications declined by 11.1 percent to 797,852 and has fallen in five of the last six months. June’s level was also over 150,000 applications under the level of June 2011.

• The ratio of the number of hires who maintained employment for at least 60 days consecutive days to the total number of June hires (retail 60-day retention rate) sat at 81.9 percent, unchanged since February.

Chris Varvares, senior managing director at Macroeconomic Advisors commented, “The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged up one-tenth to 4.2 percent in June, reflecting sharp declines in both hires and applications from levels in May that were revised up substantially. The Retail Labor Index has averaged 4.1 percent so far this year, six-tenths above its level last year, suggesting more favorable hiring conditions for those seeking employment opportunities in the retail sector. This reflects not only reduced competition as the level of applications has fallen significantly over the last year but also some firming in hiring. Even with the drop in June, hiring remains solid compared to last year, up 7.7 percent year-to-date. Overall, we view the recent readings on hires and applications in the Kronos sample as consistent with other labor market data, which point to a still gradual recovery in the retail labor market.”


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