The wild world of toy industry hiring is as crazy as ever. While the headlines are all about layoffs at the big companies, the small and medium-sized companies have been hiring hand over fist. Beginning in February, Toyjobs has been running at mach speed just to keep up with demand. Consequently, we have helped many clients upgrade their staffs and helped many toy industry inhabitants improve their situations and career prospects.

littlest pet shop

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It’s been good to see a surge in hiring for product development positions. This indicates that company are emphasizing the development of new product lines. We hope this will lead to growth after a difficult environment in 2023. There has been a particular emphasis in hiring product developers and designers in girl’s toys and plush. This likely stems from many companies trying to emulate their success of Squishmallows and Littlest Pet Shop.

Most companies are giving me positive reports coming back from LA Spring Previews so hopefully the strong hiring trend will continue. That said, I remain concerned about growing consumer debt and a large increase in credit card delinquencies. Americans held more than $1.1 trillion on their credit cards at the end of 2023, an all-time high. Nearly 10 percent of that was seriously delinquent, which is defined as 90 days or more late. Even more alarming is the rate at which people are becoming seriously delinquent. This surged to 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, up from 4 per cent at the end of 2022, and is the highest level in more than a decade. Additionally, the interest on credit card debt is not compounding at a rate of nearly 23%.

delinquent debt

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While inflation has come down from the 9.1% highs of 2022 the compounded inflation of the last three years has left consumer prices much higher. Some retailers have noticed even higher income consumers feeling squeezed. Dollar Tree recently reported that their fastest growing customer demographic earns more than $125,000 a year. Similarly, Walmart reported that one of the biggest contributors to share gained from other retailers was from shoppers earning more than $100,000. Everyone is feeling stretched and the only group that owes more money than the American consumer might be Toys’R’Us Canada.

So, temperate and sunny while at the same time hearing the low rumble of thunder in the distance. We’ll have to wait and see how things work out. Here at Toyjobs we are cautiously optimistic – as ever. We’re running as fast as we can while trying to maintain our weight on our back foot. It’s a bit awkward. Hoping I don’t end up ass over teakettle.