Consumer Comeback Blog

Budgeting for the Holidays? Why Not Work a Seasonal Job

If you haven’t already seen holiday decorations decking the halls of your favorite stores, it’s only a matter of time. Some consumers will start getting visions of sugar plums, while others will begin to dread the shopping list and eventual holiday credit card bills.

Those decorations also signal that retailers are likely looking for seasonal help. Instead of dipping into savings or going into debt for gifts, why not take on a few extra hours and earn a little extra cash by applying for a seasonal job?

If your schedule permits, now is the time to start looking for holiday work. According to the annual holiday hiring forecast from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., retailers begin recruiting seasonal help as early as September.

This year, the firm predicts that retailers may hire up to 700,000 seasonal employees, up from 660,000 last year. But that may be a hopeful number considering that hiring depends heavily on consumer confidence forecasts, which have dropped in August to its lowest levels since November. For example, the reports indicates that Kohl’s plans to hire 10% more seasonal workers with a forecasted number of 52,700, but Target plans to hire less than its 92,000 holiday employees last year.

“The economy has continued its slow recovery and surveys of retailers show that they are hopeful for solid sales gains this year. However, recent consumer confidence readings have been relatively week and unemployment remains stubbornly high. The mixed picture is likely to compel retail employers to proceed cautiously when it comes to hiring extra workers for the holiday season. Look for many to start at last year’s levels and hire additional workers only if strong sales early in the season warrant it,” John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in the report.

Challenger encourages holiday hopefuls to apply early and often.

“There is constant churn in the retail industry,” Challenger told the Los Angeles Times. “It has some of the highest turnover rates of any industry. You may walk into a store one day and they are not hiring. Walk in the next day and they may have had an employee quit and plan to replace him.”