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May Retail Labor Index

The May release of the Kronos Retail Labor Index reveals that in April 2010, both applications and hirings increased approximately 20% over March 2010.  Applications increased slightly more, bringing the Index down to 4.10% in April, from 4.17% in March.  This seasonally adjusted Index level means that for every 100 applications received, 4.10 hirings occurred.

One of the indicators we are tracking is new hire retention, an attrition rate which is calculated from Kronos' client data.  While application volumes reflect how many people seek a job, retention measures how many new hires are actually remaining on the job.

Currently, retention is at all-time highs and is continuing to increase even as hiring rates have picked up over 2009.  This indicates that employees are not willing, or are not able, to leave their jobs.  However, the rate of increase of new hire retention has slowed.  Should we see retention rates increase more slowly and then decline that will be solid evidence of a retail labor market turn-around.

Unfortunately, more than 40% of the unemployed are considered long-term unemployed (over 6 months).  As part of this, we are seeing a growing disparity in the rates of the unemployed who are receiving unemployment benefits, vs. those who are not, leading to additional concern that unemployment benefits are running out for large numbers of the long-term unemployed.

Submitted by Kelly Northrup, Kronos Hiring Solutions Group

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