Kronos Retail Labor Index: Hiring on the rise

Chelmsford, Mass. -- Retail hiring is on the rise, according to the May report of the Kronos Retail Labor Index, a family of metrics and indices that analyze the relationship between the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector.

The Kronos Retail Labor Index rose to 3.7% in April 2011 from 3.5% in March 2011, reflecting both a decline in applications, as well as an increase in hires, all on a seasonally adjusted basis. (The index 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 retailers representing 14,625 locations across the United States that make up the Kronos data sample recorded 41,097 hires (seasonally adjusted) in April 2011, up from 40,463 hires in March 2011.

The May report includes data for March and April 2011. The analysis and write-up is prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.

“The rise in the Kronos Retail Labor Index is encouraging for both the retail sector and the economy generally,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers. “The Retail Labor Index has gradually trended upward, albeit unevenly, over the last year, reflecting significant gains in hiring and a relatively flat level of applications received from month to month.”

Since the trough of the recession, monthly hires in the Kronos sample are up 40%, Varvares noted, indicating a significant bounce-back in retail hiring built upon the solid rebound seen in consumer spending and retail sales specifically.

“The flatness in the number of applications over the past year is consistent with the overall firming in the labor market. Fewer layoffs likely mean fewer new job seekers submitting applications to firms in the Kronos sample,” he said.