New data from iCIMS indicates that despite a flurry of major retailers such as Macy’s and Dollar Tree announcing wide-scale layoffs and shutdowns, job seekers continue to see opportunity in the sector.

With slight upticks in applications and openings, slow and steady growth indicates signs of optimism.

US retail hiring insights

Job openings in retail remained flat for the second month in a row in March 2024 and are 12% below January 2023 levels. However, retail employers aren’t hesitating to hire — hires jumped 10% from February.

Full-time jobs in retail are in demand. Applications per opening (APO) for those roles spiked to 39, a 50% jump year over year in March 2024. Part-time jobs in retail are receiving only 20 APO on average. 

US retail employers are seeing more candidates for open roles in the West (39) and Northeast (34) compared to the South (28) and Midwest (20). 

Transportation roles in retail are popular, with a 45% jump in applications in one year. Meanwhile, sales roles in retail are flagging, showing fewer applications than in the same period in 2023.

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iCIMS global head of workforce and customer insights Rhea Moss explained: “The labour market seems to have found its groove this year, with smaller changes in the peaks and valleys of hiring, job openings and applications.

“Still, talent acquisition teams need very different hiring strategies to fill open roles across the business and around the globe.”