Are you looking to make a little extra cash this holiday? You may be in luck. Recent industry reports have stated that there's pretty good news on the hiring front for seasonal and temporary employees. Here's a look at the top industries making those additions: (We show you how to take advantage of periodic trends in the equity markets. for further reading, refer to Capitalizing On Seasonal Effects.)
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From national chains to mom-and-pop businesses, most retailers need extra hands at this time of year. And early sales figures (from October and mid-November) have retailers optimistic that consumer spending will continue on a positive course. Among the big companies looking to add to its workforce are Macy's (NYSE:M), which announced it will fill 65,000 positions in sales, warehouse and customer service departments.
Toys R Us used to have the market cornered on holiday merchandise for children - and adults who "don't want to grow up". But in recent years, the company's competition shifted from now-defunct K-B Toys (which was liquidated in early 2009 and gobbled up by Toys R Us) to big box chains like Wal-Mart and Target. As a result, earlier this fall Toys R Us announced the opening of 600 mini stores and kiosks inside the malls to help boost sales, and subsequently is looking to hire about 45,000 new employees for the season.
Electronics giants Best Buy and Radio Shack have both posted "help wanted" signs on their doors as well because of the increasing demand for tech gadgets, HD TVs and other must-have electronic devices.
The national average for pay of holiday workers in retail ranges between $8-10 an hour - slightly more for those companies' warehouse employees. But the opportunity is there for those who are interested in earning a few bucks.
For every actual sales associate, there is a corresponding need for folks to work in a company's call center or online division. Since the beginning of November, online sales have exceeded $13 billion, a 13% jump from last holiday season. Indeed, whoever coined the term Cyber Monday was right on the money. Online sales for the event topped $1 billion alone. Somebody has to man the virtual fort, right?
Amazon.com is one of the top companies hiring for online support, adding more than 10,000 workers to its sales and fulfillment divisions in its five product warehouse locations. The really good news? Several other locations throughout the company are offering seasonal-to-permanent slots in managerial positions.
Holiday Mall Events
Almost every mall in the country has a Santa Claus station, where children of all ages can tell the big man their wish lists for Christmas Day. Mall Santas are carefully chosen, trained and groomed far in advance. But many helpers and elves are needed to handle long lines of impatient children, photo assignments (everyone wants a picture on Santa's lap, don't they?), and other assorted duties befitting residents of the North Pole.
Santa cannot possibly deliver all those gifts on his own, even with all the additional helpers and elves. So companies like UPS (NYSE:UPS), DHL and FedEx (NYSE:FDX) are beefing up employee numbers in their distribution centers, as well as adding drivers and driver's helpers to their fleets. One bonus: the flexible hours are attractive for folks who are looking for second- and third-shift schedules.
Food Service & Hospitality
Where there are shoppers, there are usually places to eat. And so when the numbers of shoppers increases, so does the need to feed them. The food and beverage industry has seen the greatest growth in hiring, adding approximately 143,000 new positions since the beginning of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, that represents a growth rate of four-times as many new jobs as the rest of the economy.
Companies looking to serve up new hires are in the fast food market, mall-based eateries and national or regional chains, like Applebee's, Chili's and Olive Garden. Also, catering companies often add extra staff (including waiters and bartenders) in order to accommodate holiday parties, office functions and private gatherings. (Don't put your money on the table before getting a taste for analyzing this sector. See Sinking Your Teeth Into Restaurant Stocks.)
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Come Thanksgiving, most garden centers and nurseries replace all those lovely blooms with evergreens in all shapes and sizes to fit all budgets. In fact, every year in the United States, between 25 and 30 million fresh Christmas trees are sold. That's not counting grave blankets, wreaths, pine roping for banisters and all the bells and whistles for decorating.
Many garden centers and landscapers also offer snow plowing services - which requires extra hands, as well. So if you don't mind working outdoors in all sorts of weather conditions, there are jobs to be had.
The Bottom Line
The economy is not yet where we'd like it to be and, depending on who's talking, the outlook changes from week to week. But one thing is for certain - the holidays are a time when it's all hands on deck. So if you're interested, chances are there's a job for you. (Flooding the market with cheap products can mean job losses and even market collapse - but dumping isn't as threatening as it seems. Check out Do Cheap Imported Goods Cost Americans Jobs?)
Find out what happened in financial news this week. Read Water Cooler Finance: Steady Stocks, Big G's And Madoff News.