jobsKronos Inc. has released its newest report on the state of the supply and demand sides of the retail sector of the labor market. Key highlights of the study include:

• Out of every 100 retail job applications received by employers, only about 4 of them lead to hires, on average. However, this decline in hiring could not outpace a pronounced drop in applications.

• Of the over 18,000 retail locations represented within the Kronos report, 33,186 hires occurred in May 2012, down 4 percent from April.

• Applications received from the sampled group fell nearly 15 percent over April to 809,414. The number was over 250,000 less than May 2011 and the lowest since September 2007.

• The 60-day retention rate fell from 83.7 percent in December 2011 to 81.8 percent in January 2012.

Christ Varvares, senior managing director of Macroeconomic Advisers commented, “The Kronos Retail Labor Index jumped five-tenths to 4.1 percent in May, the fourth reading of 4.0 percent or higher in the last five months. Compared to readings of about 3.5 percent over the last few years, the higher level signals a slightly more favorable job market for applicants, with more hires occurring per application submitted than in previous years. While much of the recent boost in the Index is accounted for by large declines in applications since the middle of last year, it also reflects a pick-up in hiring since the low levels experienced during and following the Great Recession. The average level of hires so far this year remains well above levels seen over the last three years, pointing to a firming in retail labor market conditions.”

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