In case you haven't noticed, it's the holiday shopping season. Reports have been surfacing (Including our story here) in recent days about retailers hiring holiday temps, including Target, which is actually hiring fewer employees this season.

Outplacement consulting guru Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that shaky consumer confidence and increased efficiencies among retailers may conspire to dampen overall holiday hiring. That, despite a 12-year high in hiring last year.

In its annual holiday hiring forecast, CGC said seasonal job gains will not see a significant decline from last year’s numbers, in fact, they are likely to match the level of hiring that occurred in October, November, and December 2012. 

In 2012, retail employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 751,800 between Oct.1 and Dec. 31, up 11 percent from the previous year, CGC said. That was the heaviest holiday hiring binge since 2000, when retailers added 788,200 to their payrolls during the final three months of the year.

"While, the economy and job market are improving, it has now been four years since the recession officially ended and millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed," said John Challenbger, CEO of the firm, in a statement. "As a result, consumers remain uneasy, which is evidenced by wide monthly mood swings in confidence surveys.”

“Price-conscious consumers are doing more and more of their holiday shopping online, where they often find the best deals and can typically enjoy free delivery and no sales tax," he said. "The ongoing shift to Internet shopping could see some seasonal hiring in this area, but the numbers will never match the employment gains seen in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, primarily because there simply are not has many.  For every Amazon, there are dozens of national retail chains with the potential to hire thousands.”

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