Kronos U.S. Retail Labor index, measuring ratio of hires to applications, expressed as a percentage, stood at 4.3% in March, the second straight reading above 4% and the third reading above 4% since October 2008

CHELMSFORD, Massachusetts , April 5, 2012 (press release) – Kronos Incorporated today announced the April release of the Kronos® Retail Labor Index™, a family of metrics and indices that characterize the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector. The April report includes data for March 2012. The analysis and write-up are prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, and are available on the Kronos Retail Labor Index website.

News Facts

The Kronos Retail Labor Index: (This index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0 percent means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred). The Kronos Retail Labor Index was down slightly in March to a still solid 4.3 percent. This was the second consecutive reading above 4.0 percent and only the third reading of 4.0 or higher since October 2008.
Retail Hiring Level: The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample made 33,684 hires (seasonally adjusted) in March 2012, down 11.6 percent from February. While the level of hires in March was below the recent pace of hires (roughly 35,000 over the last six months), it was broadly consistent with the 2011 average and remains above levels seen in 2009 and 2010.
Retail Applications Level: The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample fell 10.0 percent to 784,941 in March 2012 from an upwardly revised 872,341 in February 2012, all on a seasonally adjusted basis. The level of applications in March was down nearly 250,000 from its level one year ago, when applications reached a near record high. Applications have been trending downward since the second half of last year, and the sharp decline in March brought them to their lowest level since September 2007, just prior to the onset of the recession.
Retail 60-Day Retention Rate: The 60-day retention rate, measured as the number of hires who remain employed for at least the first 60 days divided by the total number of hires made in that month, rose to 83.7 percent (seasonally adjusted) in November 2011 from 82.2 in October 2011. (Note: There is a four-month lag on this indicator as two months are required to measure whether a hire remained employed for 60 days and Kronos customers have two months to return data on separations.)

Supporting Quotes

Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers
“The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down one-tenth to a still solid 4.3 percent in March, reflecting sharp declines in both hires made and applications received. However, the decline in hires this month followed a strong increase in February to the highest level since October 2008. The strength in February hiring may have contributed to the March drop in applications, as job seekers who found employment did not apply for additional positions in March. In addition, with overall labor market conditions improving, potential applicants are likely seeking job opportunities in sectors outside of retail, consistent with the recent declining trend in applications for retail positions."

Supporting Resources

Organizations that use Kronos hiring solutions employ approximately 15 percent of the U.S. consumer retail labor market, providing Kronos with a unique set of data on employee job applications, hires, and length of service.
The Kronos Retail Labor Index is released on a monthly basis. Go to www.kronos.com/retail-labor-index to access: the full report; a schedule of upcoming Retail Labor Index release dates; the Retail Labor Index methodology; and downloadable graphics.
Note to reporters: cite findings as “Kronos Retail Labor Index”.
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About the Kronos Retail Labor Index

The Kronos Retail Labor Index is a family of metrics and indices that analyze the relationship between the demand and the supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector. It is derived from a single, unified data set, allowing for statistically appropriate comparisons and time series-based trending analysis. Firms that use Kronos hiring solutions employ approximately 15 percent of the U.S. consumer retail labor market, providing Kronos with a unique set of data on employee job applications, hirings, and length of service. The Kronos Retail Labor Index provides a distinct and early indicator of the health of the retail sector.

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