If you're hoping to take advantage of holiday hiring this year, it'd be smart to start the job hunt now. Most retailers make their hiring decisions during October, but the levels at which they hire are expected to be significantly lower than last year.

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Retailers could hire approximately 700,000 temporary workers to help them out over the next couple of months, according to a recent report from global employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CG&C). More than 750,000 seasonal workers were hired during the same time period in 2012.

One possible reason for the drop is the fact that this calendar year provides six less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving falls on November 28 this year.

"Whether it is related to increased online shopping or the shakiness in consumer confidence, the expectation that there will be fewer people in stores could prompt some retailers to reduce the number of extra people they will need on the sales floor," said John A. Challenger, CG&C chief executive officer.

Joy Schneer, professor of management at Rider University, said this year's forecasted drop in holiday hiring could actually be good news. She noted retail hiring saw a spike earlier this year.

"Maybe (this forecast) is suggesting that there's more permanent hiring going on, and thus less need for temporary help during the holiday season," Schneer said.

She also pointed out that companies have become smarter with staffing, and they have a greater ability to predict the ebbs and flows in sales activity.

"That should allow them to function with a more lean staff," she said.

Earlier this month, Target announced it plans to hire 70,000 holiday workers this year, down from 88,000 last year. However, Wal-Mart is bringing in 5,000 more seasonal associates than it had in 2012.