"During difficult economic times it's important to be aggressive," Chief Executive Jerry Storch said. "And primarily the increase in hiring is due to our aggressive stance in opening more stores."
The downside to seasonal jobs is that they're almost always temporary and often low-paying, so economists say the boost in holiday hiring shouldn't be viewed as a sign that the job market has turned around.
The big increase in holiday hiring at some retailers might also be a reflection of too many stores that are understaffed. And some major chains, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co., say they plan to keep holiday hiring flat this year.
Although the number of seasonal hires this year is not expected to exceed pre-recession levels, the pickup in such hiring shows that the economy is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly, said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"With each passing month, it seems like things continue along that slow incline outward where we're doing better than where we were last year at the same time," he said.
"It's not great, the economy isn't flowing freely, but the engine seems to be ticking."