All over the country, retailers have been revising their sales estimates for the coming holiday season upward, which bodes well for the temporary staffing industry, considering these firms are typically the first to be contacted to help fill seasonal roles.
In Atlanta, job seekers are beginning to buckle down on their search as a growing number of retailers say their sales will be strong this year, and they will need the appropriate workforce to handle the demand.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, higher sales equate to a need for more seasonal workers to help keep the shelves stocked, orders fills and lines moving. What's more, if the sales projections turn out to be true, many of these workers who originally signed on for temp work could even snag a permanent position.
"It will be, in general, easier to get a seasonal job this year," said Craig Rowley, vice president of the national retail practice for Hay Group. "Retailers are betting bigger on Christmas."
The boom in hiring would be tremendously beneficial for Atlanta, where the unemployment rate is currently at 8.9 percent, compared with the national average of 7.8 percent.
The uptick in holiday hiring could present great opportunities for many who have been out of work for months or even years. Erik Nielsen, who held a job in information technology for more than 30 years before being laid off in 2009, recently interviewed for a seasonal position at Old Navy. While it is not the permanent job he is looking for, he said, it will certainly help him with additional holiday expenses.
"I’m looking for anything, really," he said. "This one sounds good. But, at the moment, any job offer I get, I would take."
It's a similar case in new Jersey, where throngs of people have been showing up to job fairs, according to Bloomberg. One event in Toms River drew a crowd of more than 600 job seekers, who all waited in line to speak with 25 companies that were looking to fill a total of 250 temporary jobs and some full-time positions.
"It’s not easy out there, but I don’t want to give up," said Phil Lubov, 65, who added he spent 40 years working in retail and has been looking for a job and collecting unemployment benefits for months.
Rowley and Lubov are two of thousands of job seekers across the country that are hoping to find employment this holiday season at any number of retail outlets. However, despite a number of rosy outlooks, some still say the hiring climate hinges completely on the U.S. economy.
Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, said the lower consumer spending numbers in August could dampen retail sales, which may have an effect on hiring.
Still, no matter what the size of the jobs increase is this holiday season, it will be a welcome change from the last few months, said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.
According to Bloomberg, Varvares said that any impact the holiday season has on the hiring climate will be a "definite plus."
"It helps profits, it helps employment and to the extent it does both of those things, it can help to create a virtuous cycle of improved consumer confidence and then stronger spending down the road," he said. "It definitely puts a shot of income into the economy that if we were missing, we would notice."