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NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon plans to hire 100,000 people for the holidays, a 25 percent jump from last year that reveals a shift in the way we shop.The online retailer said Tuesday that it will be hiring across the country for jobs in its fulfillment and sorting facilities. It was supposed to be a happy holiday for workers looking for retail jobs during the industry's busiest time of year, but the reality didn't live up to the expectations. And now, making matters worse, several retailers are looking to start off the year with hefty job cuts, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. After a record-breaking hiring spree in October, the industry could add as many as 800,000 jobs during the last three months of 2014, the firm estimated. Unfortunately, weak Black Friday sales, coupled with other factors such as a big shift to online shopping, led to a slowdown in hiring in November and December, with employers adding 23,000 fewer workers than during the same two-month period a year earlier, Challenger said.

All told, retail employment rose by 603,200 in November and December, down 4 percent from the 626,200 workers added during the same period in 2013, according to the firm's analysis of non-seasonally adjusted government employment data.
Overall, holiday hiring during the final three months of last year resulted in 785,200 workers' being added to retail payrolls, which was 1,000 fewer than 2013's 786,200. It's also important to consider that these figures may not represent retail's entire contribution to the nation's jobs picture. Even if that occurs, though, hiring definitely fell short of the expectations based on the strong hiring numbers we saw in October," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. As more retail sales shift online, the sector may be boosting jobs in other areas such as shipping.

And the retail sector grew by 182,000 jobs in October, the largest October employment gain in Labor Department data going back to 1939. Young adult clothing retailer WetSeal announced that it is closing 338 stores and cutting nearly 3,700 jobs.

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