Some Boise retail stores are planning to hire more seasonal sales associates this year than last, marking a return to a more-normal cycle of holiday hiring.
Part of the increase reflects a national trend. Kohls says it will hire 52,700 seasonal employees at its 1,146 stores nationwide, including 30 at the Boise Towne Square store. Walmart says it will take on 50,000 people nationwide, up slightly from last year, and will offer more hours to workers. Toys R Us is hiring 45,000 workers, 13 percent more than last year. The consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts nearly 700,000 people will be employed in seasonal work this year, up 1.9 percent.
Analysts study holiday hiring for clues about employment trends and sales expectations for retailers most important time of the year. Stores typically begin to hire in mid-September and ramp up in mid-October.
No local hiring estimate is available, but Andrew Townsend, a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor, says new stores will help pull Treasure Valley holiday hiring out of its recession doldrums.
Things are getting back into a seasonal pattern, especially with so many shops opening in the Valley, Townsend says. Local retail hiring is moving slowly but surely back to prerecession levels, he says.
The Boise Kohls opened in 2011, and its fresh staffing reduced the number of seasonal associates hired last Christmas, Manager Jamey Kropf says. He says he expects no problems filling the latest temporary jobs. With the response weve received, already I think that will be fairly easy, he says, though he declines to say how many applicants he has.
The increase is uneven. For example, Target will cut seasonal hiring to 90,000 nationwide, down from 92,000 in 2011.
Harrison Berry: firstname.lastname@example.org. Statesman wire services contributed.