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Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 7:11am

Not Much Extra Hiring For The Holidays

Georgians looking to pick up some extra work for the holidays probably won’t see more opportunity to do that this year than in recent years.

Retailers are forecasting about 20,000 seasonal jobs in Georgia for October, November and December, according to the Georgia Retail Association. That tracks closely with last year’s hiring.

“We’re going to see some decent sales growth, but I really don’t think we’re going to see massive hiring,” said Ben McKay, a research associate in Georgia Southern University’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development.

One reason McKay said Georgia has not seen more growth in holiday hiring is that companies offer hours to their existing workers instead of hiring new ones.

“We’ve seen, across the labor market, a lot of examples of companies that are tending to use technology or just give out a little bit of additional work to the staff they already have,” McKay said. “That’s one of the reasons that we’ve seen corporate profits increase so much over the last couple of years.”

In a thriving economy, McKay said Georgia would see 2 percent to 3 percent growth each year in seasonal employment along with holiday sales growth of 4 percent to 5 percent.

The retailers’ group predicts about a 3.5 percent increase in holiday sales in Georgia.

The association’s John Fleming said his members are cautiously optimistic. And he said people who do find holiday work also have reason to be positive.

“One of the things retailers tell us is that a lot of the people that they hire as part-time help over the holidays wind up staying on in permanent jobs after the beginning of the year,” Fleming said. “So as we’re adding 20,000 temporary jobs, keep in mind that a quarter to half of those might turn into permanent jobs in retail.”

While many of holiday jobs are filled in November, analysts at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported earlier this month about a fourth of seasonal hiring happens in December.

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