There are only 70 days until Christmas, and already, some of the biggest retail chains and shipping companies are ramping up hiring for the holiday season. 

Although Sears' recent bankruptcy shows signs of concern for future of brick-and-mortar retail companies, three major big box retailers in Macy's ($M), Kohl's ($KSS), and Target ($TGT) are at all-time highs for individual job openings since the Thinknum database began tracking their job listings.

Target aims to bring in more seasonal employees than Macy's, Kohl's

Macy's had plans to hire 80,000 temporary workers this season to combat the holiday rush. Recently, it had an all-time high in single day job listings, putting up 7,961 individual positions on October 11. While the listings do not account for the number of people needed to fill that role — a location could have one listing link but hire multiple people — the data still shows that Macy's is looking for new hires at unprecedented levels;

Looking at last year's pre-holiday season hiring trends at Kohl's and comparing it to a similar period today shows a similar strong holiday hiring trend for another major retailer. On September 17, 2018, Kohl's had its most listings yet with 3,360 positions. Outside of that spike, the number of openings at the department store are similar between years, although its "Seasonal Hiring Day" on October 26 and 27 has yet to come around, and it is expected to bring in 90,000 temporary employees before the holidays.

At Target, hiring is also at a record high for the year, as the retailer listed as many positions as it did the year prior during the same season. Like Macy's, Target officially announced that it is hiring heavily for this season, as it searches for 120,000 temp employees in total, an increase of 20% since last year. When last tracked on October 12, Target had 20,000 job listings on its careers website.

Out of these three retailers, Target is far and away attempting to win the war for the largest holiday season workforce, as it lists more than double the number of open positions that Macy's and Kohl's have combined.

Hiring at delivery companies, Amazon reach year-highs

UPS ($UPS) and FedEx ($FDX) are like Santa's reindeer in the modern era; they both are a crucial part of delivering gifts to all over the country during the holiday season. And right now, the stables are looking to be filled.

At the United Parcel Service, hiring has skyrocketed since February. On October 12, it topped out at 8,574 individual listings, with Driver Helpers, a temporary, seasonal position that helps full-time UPS drivers delivers packages, being the most common open position at 2,151 openings.

Title Number of Openings
Driver Helper 2151
Package Handler - Part-Time 1250
Seasonal Personal Vehicle Package Driver 1142
Package Delivery Driver 944
Tractor Trailer Driver 209
Automotive Mechanic 127
OTR CDL A Tractor-Trailer Truckload Driver (HazMat REQ) Dedicated 124
Full-time City Driver 108
Full-time Road Driver 105
Part-time Dockworker 96

Hiring at FedEx also reached a year high this past week, but not as much as their rival UPS. The courier delivery service listed 4,735 open jobs on October 14, nearly less than half of what UPS is looking for in the coming months.

Of course, Amazon, the biggest account for UPS (and FedEx in some markets) and the rival to big box retailers, is also ramping up their overall workforce across the board before the holiday season begins. On its previous job listings website, Amazon had a strong holiday hiring period in 2016, but due to a hiring freeze in late 2017, that holiday season saw less listings posted over time.

In the new year, hiring began crawling back up, and after Amazon switched job listings websites, it had even more openings than ever before with 19,371 open listings.

Surprisingly, Amazon's boom in listings did not outpace Target's number of job openings, which indicates how much the retailer is anticipating a massive profitable season for its stores.

Historically, hiring across the board in retail tends to drop after the holiday season, with temp workers being let go or, for some lucky few, brought on as full or part-time employees. We'll see if this trend continues after the ball drops for 2019 a few months from now.

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