SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The average consumer is expected to spend more than $1,000 this holiday season. That’s more than a 4 percent jump from last year, which is creating a ripple effect for retailers and job seekers.
Companies hiring seasonal workers for the holidays have announced more than 704,000 jobs this season. That’s according to research by outplacement giant Challenger, Gray & Christmas. All of those jobs available nationally translate into opportunities right here at home, as well.
When it comes to holiday hiring, the numbers are dramatic.
Amazon recently announced it will hire 100,000 seasonal workers, So too will UPS. Target also announced plans to hire even more, 120,000 employees - a 20 percent jump from last year. Then there’s Kohl’s, hiring 90,000 workers in the U.S. for the holidays.
It’s not just a national trend. Just ask Juan Fortiz, store manager of the Academy Sports location in south Shreveport “We’re continuously hiring for seasonal associates.” Fortiz recently explained to us those seasonal jobs sometimes become permanent positions. That’s not just limited to Academy.
“Whatever job you get, especially this time of year, do your best job because some companies will be able to keep you on after the holiday season,” suggested Jacques Lasseigne, with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. He explained that for some companies that transition to a permanent position can be as high as 30 percent of seasonal workers. Lasseigne even told us there are more jobs available than applicants to fill them. The only problem is what he described as a ‘skills gap.’
A lot of those people who can’t find a job don’t have the skills to fill those empty positions. But getting a job, seasonal or otherwise, is a challenge in and of itself. We met Floyd Pickett at the Louisiana Works office in Shreveport.
Pickett has been looking for a new job the last two months. Despite 30 years of warehouse and forklift experience, he’s still struggling to find the right job.
His advice for fellow job seekers is to, “Just pray, stick with it; follow up on all calls.” Pickett also warned job seekers to avoid any job posting that seems too good to be true, like unusually high pay.
All of these seasonal jobs come as consumer confidence stands at its highest level in 18 years, and wages are up, while the unemployment rate has fallen to just 3.7 percent, a nearly 50 year low.