Walmart plans to hire less than a third of the number of seasonal workers it hired last year — 150,000, many of which were permanent.

Walmart Inc., the largest private-sector employer in the United States, aims to hire 40,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season this year. That’s a sizable decrease from 2021.

Walmart hiring fewer seasonal employees this year

A year ago, the retail giant said it would add 150,000 jobs, many of them permanent, during the year’s busiest shopping season. In the coming months, Walmart will start by offering additional hours to current employees who want to work more, according to a company statement. After that, it will look to hire outside help.

This year’s hiring plan signals less need for extra manpower as U.S. consumers contend with the highest inflation in four decades. While Walmart’s sales are expected to rise in dollar terms during the company’s third and fourth quarters, the gain is expected to be powered in part by higher prices. Measured by unit volumes, the company reported a slight decline in U.S. food sales during the second quarter, which ended in late July.

Walmart ranks No. 2 in Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 database. It ranks the largest online retailers by web sales. Walmart is behind Amazon.

Food inflation is still in the double digits, but there are signs of easing in certain categories, said John Furner, the head of Walmart’s U.S. unit. Customers are still generally willing to spend, especially on special occasions such as holidays, he said at Groceryshop, a retail convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

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“There’s a lot of customer demand still in the market,” Furner said. “We’re still optimistic that the customer’s in a strong position.”

United Parcel Service Inc. said earlier this month that it would add about 100,000 seasonal jobs, similar to last year’s goal.

U.S. companies are expected to unveil their seasonal hiring plans in the coming weeks.

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