Finding holiday jobs may be harder this season

October 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Holiday hiring is traditionally robust. But in recent years we haven't seen that flurry of hiring. So, this year, job seekers are eager to see that some retailers have started hiring temporary workers for the season.

Retailers are getting ready for what they hope will be a good last quarter.

"In retail, 4th quarter is always our busiest," said Macy's rep Andrea Schwartz. "We need to be completely prepared."

Macy's plans to hire 78,000 seasonal employees nationwide.

Local applicants like Victor Johnson could use the hours. He is only finding part time work. Johnson says a more reliable vehicle tops his list, and he hopes to properly spoil his 4-year-old son for Christmas.

"I hope they call me so I can be able to get my son some extra little stuff for Christmas," said Johnson.

Finding holiday jobs may be harder this season. Despite some large retailers starting to hire, outplacement specialist John Challenger of the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas expects seasonal hiring to be the same as last year with concern about the economy weighing heavily on the minds of employers.

"They don't wanna over-hire and then have to let people go again. That's so painful," said Challenger. "So what they're doing is hiring a small group of people and then they're waiting to see."

Some smaller retailers ABC7 spoke with don't expect to add staffers.

"The individuals we have on staff know the product. They know the customers. Because we're a small business, we know most of our customers by name," said Tiffany Bullock, House of Sole.

House of Sole's owner plans to give current employees more hours.

Bullock says uncertain economic times force a small business owner to hold back.

"When you look at what is going on in the world, you have to tighten basically your belt as much as possible," said Bullock. "And you have to deal with the unexpected."

Another way Bullock keeps customers happy and watches the bottom line is by offering internships to fashion students. She says it is extra work for her to ensure the student have a well-rounded internship, but it helps keep costs down.

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