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July Retail Labor Index

Dr. Robert Yerex of the Kronos Staffing Science Team provides the following context for this month's Retail Labor Index report:

Retail employers increased the number of hires they made in June to a level that was more than 30% higher than in June of 2009. Unfortunately for those seeking a position, the number of applicants also increased dramatically driving the Index down to 3.47, an improvement over June of 2009 but well below the levels seen prior to that. There continues to be considerable evidence of a jobless recovery. Of additional concern is the percentage of those who have been out of work for 27 or more weeks, now at an historic level of more than 46%. For all those individuals counted as unemployed in the U.S. Department of Labor survey, the average number of weeks out of work has increased to 33. The lost income represented by this statistic is very significant and represents a growing suppressor of consumer spending

Trends in the four most important constraints on consumer spending are moving against increased consumption: the savings rate is increasing; real disposable income has not shown a significant increase in the past few years; asset values continue to decline; and total outstanding revolving consumer credit is at its lowest level since March 2006 and will likely drop further as consumers continue to try to lower their debt. With all these factors dampening consumer spending, retailers are unlikely to increase hiring rates any time soon.

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