Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday January 19th 2019

All I Want For Christmas: A Job (CNN Money 11 Oct)


All I want for Christmas: A job

This holiday season, there will be more workers competing for fewer jobs. ‘It’ll be a sad Christmas for my kids,’ said one job seeker.

By Jessica Dickler, staff writer
Last Updated: October 11, 2009: 5:02 PM ET

NEW YORK ( — Planning on boosting your income this holiday season by grabbing a temporary job in retail? Take a number.

Retail employers, who usually boost their workforce ahead of the year-end shopping frenzy, have suffered dismal sales this year and are gearing up for a rough holiday season. With staffing levels already down, there will likely be a noticeable decline in openings for seasonal workers.

At the same time, workers who have seen their incomes drop because of layoffs, salary cuts and shorter work weeks are depending on extra income during the holidays.

The result: More workers competing for fewer jobs.

Although 62% of retailers are seeing more seasonal applicants this year, 40% are hiring fewer seasonal workers, according to a recent survey by Philadelphia-based consulting firm Hay Group.

“There’s going to be extraordinary competition this year for these jobs,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Jenny Posner Brown-Shern, 37, doesn’t want to get left out in the cold. She has a full-time job as a social worker. Her husband, Joel, has a good job as a fraud analyst for an office supply company, but his overtime was cut this year and so were some of Brown-Shern’s benefits.

“We were dependent on that overtime,” she said. Now, they are both trying to find seasonal jobs to fill that gap, and hopefully buy some Christmas presents for their children.

“He’s looking into security in the evenings, maybe at a bar or bank. I’ve just started to fill out applications for retail,” she said.

Brown-Shern says she has applied to a number of stores near her home in Columbia, S.C., including Pier 1 and Bath & Body Works, hoping to land a position, but the prospects are grim.

“Neither of us have heard back about anything,” she said. “It’ll be a sad Christmas for my kids, I guess.”
Best Jobs in America

With record numbers of unemployed and underemployed workers, hopefuls like Brown-Shern are facing serious competition this year.

Last year was also a terrible year for seasonal hiring. Retail employment grew by just 384,000 from October through December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was the lowest holiday hiring figure since 1989 and around half that of 2007, when retailers added 721,000 workers during the holiday months.

With low sales expectations again this year, the majority of employers are planning on hiring the same number of seasonal workers as last year or fewer, the Hay Group survey said.

One of the biggest holiday employers, Target (TGT, Fortune 500), is one of the retailers cutting back. “We are anticipating a reduction in the need for seasonal hiring this year,” said Heather Christensen, a spokeswoman for the company.

In 2008, Christensen said Target hired over 62,000 holiday workers for its U.S. stores.

Christensen attributed the decline to soft sales and fewer turnovers among Target’s permanent employees. The company is also offering existing employees the option of taking on additional hours, which further reduces the need for temporary workers over the holidays.

For those depending on a holiday job this year, there are some signs of hope. A number of large retailers, including Macy’s and Toys R Us, say they will keep their seasonal hiring levels on par with last year. A few others, like Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500), say they will even boost the number of hires this year.

But overall the outlook is pretty dismal, and until hiring and retail spending pick up, the economy is still not out of the woods.

“Holiday hiring might improve slightly over last year, but only because 2008 saw the lowest seasonal employment growth in nearly 20 years” Challenger said.
First Published: October 11, 2009: 2:28 PM ET

Number of View: 1586

Reader Feedback

3 Responses to “All I Want For Christmas: A Job (CNN Money 11 Oct)”

  1. John Tow Shanton says:

    Jobs? Name one, anyone, and I would probably have worked it. I recall months, pumping gas, when it was going for about 25 cents a gallon. Those were the “good old days.” I bussed tables, washed pots, painted signs, sat for painters (being Chinese, I was quite sought after as an “exotic” model by the art school crowd then, in the sixties.I did calligraphy for upscale hotels, sold door-to-door, drove snow ploughs in the summer and lawn machines in the summer,cashiered, cleaned, even cut hair…during my college days. Most recently, I even bought and sold cars, worked as a major-brand watch salesman, and as a tax-filer.

    How did I manage to do all this?

    I came to America in the sixties, with my sights set on making it big here. Visions of glittering gold nuggets in my pan danced about my head, for to me, the California gold rush was still on… America, the land rich with food and money was the place anyone who is into the good life should be… That was then.

    Well, here is now. Over forty years have passed, and I am, still doing just so-so. A graduate of college, and one who had lived the dream of working in the field of information technology, and one who had been a part of the Personal Computer revolution. You see, I started making a “real” paycheck with Univac, and grew with the company as it rose, and hung on till it fell. All through those years, I did not make a lot of money, contrary to what you may thing, but it was quite a learning experience, to say the least!

    Why do I say it? Just this: what I had gained from the almost 20 years with this one-time number one company in the computer field was that anyone here in America could indeed do better working on his or her own.

    I am running my own business now, maintaining offices on contract, and I have been doing that over 20 years, and I can say that I am faring much, much better than those of my contemporaries – or at least compared with those of my friends from way back when, even with those who have graduated out from college, like I did, and are working a 9 to 5 job.

    The recent recession has not affected me. While millions have been let go by their bosses, for whatever the reason may be, I soldier on, growing my business. (At one time, I made a six-figure income, just doing that!) As a service related line of work, I have succeeded by providing my clients the best, always. And so, I remain gainfully employed.

    Still, I have stayed up nights, wondering about the “what ifs.” To see so many out in the cold lately, has been quite a “reality check” to me.

    I have tallied up, as a result here, a list of things I could fall back on, should more millions get laid off, or should, God forbid, our economy tank, totally. With the way the money in the Treasury is being thrown around, there is a distinct possibility of that happening, many have said.

    Here is what I came up with:

    I could expand my office maintenance business and go into carpet cleaning – full time as a professional grade carpet machine is now being sold for about $400 at the Walmart. There are many homes that could use this service.

    I could have my men do windows too, to pull in more revenue. window-cleaning is easy to do. There are many businesses that are doing fine, and who can use this added service.

    As my hobby is toymaking, I could come up with at least a dozen different toys and useful things of wood that could be sold at the weekly farmers market near by.

    I could even make at least six kinds of curry turnovers to take there. People always love to eat and a take -home pay of hundreds of dollars per weekend is possible just doing that.

    I have many projects that I have completed that are totally saleable: architectural models which are really banks, hideaway safes made from spent shaving lotion spray cans and assorted vegetable tins. They go for over $12.00 in any of these gift catalogues, but I can sell them at $5.00 apiece. I could easily make a dozen or more of them a day.

    I am good with my hands, and can come up easily with a line of jewelry for sale.

    As I love metalworking, I could fashion all sorts of useful metal works of art for sale.

    As an author, I have six books which I could push at the car shows and gift fairs. These books are about cars, and craft projects, and more. I could sell one that could help the millions that are out of work even now, as it talks about my “going it alone, and making it,” in this dog-eat-dog working world.

    Ah, there are such a lot that I could do, really…. So much so that I no longer stay up nights worrying about losing my business, and worse, having to go on the dole.

    I could go on, but here is one that mixes business with pleasure: I love aeromodeling, and I could make myself a radio-controlled toy aircraft that could loft a video camera and take all sorts of aerial photos that could be sold to the real estate companies around here. I could have loads of fun, doing photos, just for homeowners, or for other businesses that need some kind of publicity in that arena… You bet there is money to be made even here, and if I may, to be pulled out of thin air.

    Ah, much to do…, so little time! So much one can do…and so much money to be made, come to think of it.

  2. John Tow Shanton says:

    Ooops! Correction: “Drove snow ploughs in the winter and lawn machines in the summer.”
    My spologies.

  3. I have learn a few excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you place to create this kind of wonderful informative web site.

Leave a Reply