Holiday hiring by U.S. retailers may fall about 6.9 percent this year as shaky consumer confidence and more efficient store practices reduce demand for seasonal workers, according to Challenger, Gray

Retailers added 465,500 seasonal workers in November, the most ever added during the holiday hiring season, according to an analysis of nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Despite all of the uncertainty, all the talk of fiscal cliffs, the widespread damage to retail epicenters on the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy, and the continued growth of e-commerce, retailers are hiring holiday workers in record numbers," said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Holiday retail hiring is off to a relatively strong start with 141,500 jobs added in October, but overall hiring for the season may be a bit slower than last year, according to layoff consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Retailers are likely to hire the same or possibly fewer seasonal workers for the year-end holidays as they hired in 2010, outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

The retail sector saw fewer announced job cuts in June than in May, signaling industry improvement, according to a new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The retail sector announced 1,415 layoffs in June, compared to 2,944 in May. Moreover, the number of job cuts announced by retail employers for the first six months of the year dropped 12 percent to 23,027 from a year earlier.

The retail sector is expected to see over 8,000 job cuts in the coming months, a new report on planned layoffs from Chicago-based outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows.

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