Seasonal jobs disappear with tough economy

November 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The troubled economy, coupled with an employment rate of nearly eight percent in California, have many workers hoping for seasonal employment over the holidays, but there are likely to be fewer of those part time jobs available.

Josh Edelson is a laid off marketing manager whose job quest has landed him in a variety of temporary jobs.

"One of the most recent temp jobs I did was working on the assembly line at a gin distillery," says Josh Edelson.

Edelson is one of a growing number of unemployed people hoping the holiday season brings some temporary retail work. He's signed up at 12 staffing agencies.

And this time of year, temp agencies say they're seeing a growing pool of skilled workers willing to take on just about anything available.

Manpower is the largest U.S. based staffing firm. Its San Francisco office is adding 300 potential workers to its pool each month, but this year's hiring outlook for the retail trade sector is the lowest in 17 years.

"We're probably 25, 30 percent less demand than I've seen previously," says Thomas Baity, from Manpower, Inc.

Manpower says retailers still aren't sure how consumers are going to spend their money this holiday, so there's no reason to beef up.

"What kind of feeling are you getting this year?" asks ABC7 Alan Wang.
"Just more hum drum, not that excited, not people hustling about like normal," says Carolyn Norwood, a shopper.

"When temporary staffing begins to pick up, that's an indicator the economy is doing better because companies will bring on temps first because they're not sure they want to bring on the head count yet," says Baity.

So far there's no sign of it, but Josh Edelson says he has to believe it'll happen soon.


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