It is a byproduct of the improving job market for retailers as they look to hire enough workers for the holiday shopping season.

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Fewer Americans are searching for even full-time jobs.

“Then when you look at individuals who are looking for part-time work, there’s even a much smaller pool,” said John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchant’s Association.

“So, it’s a much more competitive environment when it comes to hiring people.”

Retail holiday hiring generally begins in September.  The shifting trend has forced retailers to think outside the box a bit, beginning with their own in-house workers.

“They’re going to their existing employees and seeing if they want to work additional hours,” he said.  “And also, some part-timers are having the opportunity to transition into full-time.”

As for outside help, retailers are being forced to sweeten the pot with higher starting wages and bonuses to work weekend shifts.

Nationwide, retail stores are expected to hire more than 750,000 workers during the holiday crunch, which usually reflects 20 to 40 percent of a store’s sales for the year.

Generally, these seasonal employees will work through Christmas and into the few weeks after because of the need to handle returns and the use of gift cards.

While the change in employment trends forced retailers to be more creative, Holub believes it is an issue that is being solved heading into the busiest part of the shopping season.

He said the increased hiring competition is something that all businesses are facing because of the falling unemployment numbers.

“The only problem right now is the pool is smaller.”