Kronos Retail Labor Index edges down

Chelmsford, Mass. -- The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down to 3.8% in October 2011, following an upwardly revised 4.2% for September, which was the first reading above 4% since October 2008. Even with the small decline in October, the Retail labor Index remains well above the series low of 2.8% in January 2011.

The Kronos Retail Labor Index is a family of metrics and indices that characterize the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector. It is defined as the ratio of hires to applicants within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0% means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred.

“The decline reflected a 6.4% decrease in hires, which fell to 34,131 in October, from a three-year high in September,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up for the index. “Even with the slip in hiring this month, the number of hires made by firms in the Kronos sample in October was 12% above the average in the first quarter of 2009, indicative of the solid improvement in retail job market conditions.”

The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the United States that make up the Kronos data sample made 34,131 hires (seasonally adjusted) in October 2011, down 6.4% from a downwardly revised, but still solid, 36,474 hires in September 2011. The number of applications received by retailers in the sample rose 2.7% to 896,817 in October 2011, from a downwardly revised 873,160 in September 2011, all on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The 60-day retention rate, measured as the number of hires who remain employed for at least the first 60 days divided by the total number of hires made in that month, was nearly unchanged at 83.2% (seasonally adjusted) in June from 83.3% in May.

The Kronos Retail Labor Index is released on a monthly basis. Click here to access the full report.