'Tis the season for retail giants to ramp up for the holidays, break out the ads, decorate the stores and fill more than 700,000 temp jobs.
A bit down from last year's numbers, but still strong and a reflection, labor experts say, of the continued growth of online shopping, and- of retailers becoming more efficient.
Using data to track the ebb and flow of sales activity, companies can adjust their hiring accordingly.
"They're really optimizing the number of people that they have in the stores, so they have the right number of people, at the right day even at the right time," said John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Target plans to add 70,000 holiday workers this year, down from the 88,000 hired last year. A drop due in part, the company says, to more full-timers asking to work holiday shifts.
"We're thinking they'll be working another 5 to 10 percent more, and again our loyalty is really with the team that we have here, giving them the hours that they need and that they're looking for," said Target spokesperson Sarah Van Nevel.
Wal-mart is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers -- 5,000 more than last year.
Toys-R-Us plans to add 45,000 holiday helpers and Macy's -- 83,000. Both retailers keeping their numbers about the same as last year -- with more positions being filled at shipping fulfillment centers to help deliver products purchased online. Speaking of which Amazon is hiring 70,000 seasonal workers -- a 40 percent increase over last year.
Challenger says, "Every year retailers get more comfortable with shopping online that continues to grow and we'll see more of that this year."
Employment experts say seasonal hiring is more than a economic gauge of consumer confidence. With U.S. unemployment hovering just over seven percent, it's an opportunity for job seekers to get back in the game -- make some money, beef up their resume, and audition for a full time position.
A global placement firm says retailers plan to hire 444,000 seasonal workers nationwide. That's down a bit from last year's number of holiday hires, which was at a 12-year high.