Retailers plan to hire some seasonal help

October 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The experts keep saying American is nearing the end of this recession, but if that's true, employers haven't gotten the message yet.

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New labor department numbers show 263,000 people lost their jobs last month alone. That brings the national number of Americans who are out of work to 9.8 percent

It's bad, but for folks looking for temporary work during the holidays there is a ray of hope at least. Retailers will soon begin hiring for the holidays if they haven't started already, so there will be temporary work out there, but it's unclear just how much.

September marked the 21st consecutive month the U.S. economy lost jobs. More than 15 million Americans are now unemployed. The job market is so competitive these days that there are currently six applicants for every opening. Jobless forklift operator Santiago Garcia has been looking for a job for a year.

"Usually if I do apply, I have applied for a couple of them, and I never receive a call back. Nothing," says Garcia.

In San Francisco, the latest casualty of the economic downturn is the SPCA. Twenty-two of its employees have either been laid off or had their hours cut back.

"We saw more people coming in to use our charity services at the veterinary hospital. Our expenses increased, our reserves decreased and we had to make some really tough decisions," says SPCA president Jan McHugh-Smith.

More on that story here: SFSPCA to lay off 15 percent of workforce

No doubt, many who are unemployed will soon start looking for holiday work, but even the holiday hiring forecast isn't looking too good. While openings should be higher than last year, temp agencies say don't expect a boon.

Thomas Baity is with Manpower in San Francisco -- which places temp workers with major retailers.

"Retailers are being kind of cautious, optimistic but kind of cautious. So in terms of hiring, personnel standpoint, we're finding a lot more retailers that are hiring less people and also waiting a little bit longer before they hire," says Baity.

Some stores, however, aren't holding back this upcoming holiday season. Things remembered at Serramonte Center in Daly City plans to more than double its staff.

"I think people are just tired of holding money. They want to go out and relax a little bit, they've been conserving through the year and I think Christmastime is the time for everyone to enjoy it," says store manager Mark Gabellini.

Those who are looking for holiday work are advised to apply early and follow up. Some stores are even hiring now.

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