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Despite Jobs Market, Seasonal Hiring Outlook Is Looking Up [AUDIO]

Flickr User LancerE

The lackluster job market could get a boost from holiday hiring. Some analysts and employers are expecting seasonal payrolls to increase slightly more than was originally projected.

The National Retail Federation hasn’t changed its forecast that retailers will hire about 490,000 part-time seasonal workers this year, about the same as last year.

J.C. Penney will hire 37,000 seasonal workers, up from its estimate of 35,000 last month and 30,000 holiday hires last year. Meanwhile, Macy’s and Kohl’s plan to increase holiday hiring by about 5%, while Target says it will hire slightly more than the 92,000 seasonal workers it added last year. Wal-Mart and TJX, which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshalls don’t plan to make any changes over last year. Toys R Us and Best Buy will actually decrease holiday hiring by 12% and 37% respectively.

Carl VanHorn, Director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University is not surprised as toy and electronics stores have a great deal of competition from online retailers. “People may come and look at the product at the store and then find a similar product or a less expensive product online,” said VanHorn. “When people buy clothes, they usually want to try them on as opposed to when they buy an MP3 player which they can judge based on what a friend has told them or just by reading specs on the internet.”

For retailers that are not hiring additional staff for the holidays, they may be increasing the hours of existing part-time workers. “Some stores give existing workers more hours because they already know how to work within the procedures and protocols of the store and it saves money and time that would be spent on recruiting and training new employees,” said VanHorn.

FedEx said it’s hiring 20,000 workers to deliver holiday packages, up 18% from last year, a result of online orders. Meanwhile, the United Parcel Service may hire 55,000 holiday workers this year, a 10 % increase from 2010.

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