All employers want for Christmas is some holiday help. But they might not get their wish.
Companies that typically hire thousands of seasonal workers are heading into the holidays during one of the tightest job markets in decades, making it unlikely they’ll find all the workers they need. For shoppers, it might mean a less than jolly holiday shopping experience, with understaffed store aisles and online orders that take longer than usual to fill.
Job openings are already plentiful, allowing job seekers to be pickier about where they work. There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of August and 11.1 million openings the month before, the highest on record since at least December 2000, when the government started recording that figure. At the same time, the Labor Department said that the number of people quitting their jobs jumped to 4.3 million in August, up from 4 million in July.
Even before the holiday hiring season, employers were so desperate to find workers that they raised pay above $15 an hour, started offering four-figure sign-on bonuses and promised to pay their schooling. But that yielded only limited success. If they can’t find the workers they need in time for the holidays, employers will likely rely on existing staff to work more overtime, which can become costly for businesses and lead to burnout for workers.