By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Northeast Mississippi stores are among retailers adding help for the quickly approaching holiday selling season.
Earlier this month, retail industry experts said some 700,000 temporary jobs would be added nationwide.
Kohl’s, Walmart and Toys R Us each are expected to boost their staffs by 10 percent.
For Mississippi-based retailers like Reed’s, the numbers aren’t huge, but they’re adding workers nonetheless.
“Between our four stores, we’ve added about 25 people,” said Clyde Biddle, Reed’s office manager.
The Tupelo-based department store has two locations in Tupelo (downtown and in The Mall at Barnes Crossing) and a store in Columbus and Starkville.
“We have a lot of applications for part-time help,” Biddle said. “The people who have worked with us before during the holidays and summer are given first priority.”
Other local retailers have added or will add a handful of workers, depending on business.
“We hired three this week,” said Tommy Lee, owner of Corner Shoe Store. “We could add more at any time – you just don’t know. But we’re expecting to have a good year.”
Indeed, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase about 4.1 percent, higher than the 10-year average of 3.5 percent growth.
But NRF isn’t the only group expecting a solid selling season, and other jobs-related organization also predict increased hiring.
A nationwide CareerBuilder survey said 36 percent of retailers plan to add extra help for the holidays, up from 29 percent in 2011.
“An increase in consumer confidence is helping to fuel the best seasonal hiring the U.S. has seen in recent years,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “While the bulk of seasonal recruitment falls within the retail space, companies across industries are hiring for a wide range of positions to support their business operations as they wrap up the year.”
Snagajob, a jobs website, said hiring this year for the holidays could be the best in five years.
It surveyed 1,000 hiring managers nationwide, and found 63 percent will make hires this year, the highest percentage in the Snagajob five-year survey. Last year, 51 percent of managers said they would hire additional workers. and up from last year.
Snagajob’s survey also said managers would hire, on average, about six seasonal workers per store, compared to four last year.
But if you’re looking for a job, hurry. It’s not too late, but the sooner the better.
According to CareerBuilder, more than a third of employers who are hiring seasonal staff hire the most in October. Thirty percent plan to hire in November, while only 11 percent plan to hire in December.
Toys R Us is adding 45,000 seasonal workers, including 220 for its four stores in Mississippi.
Company spokeswoman Alyssa Peera couldn’t provide a breakdown of how many each store would add. Toys R Us has stores in Tupelo, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Meridian.
Part-time jobs also can turn into full-time positions for holiday workers who stand out.
Last year at Toys R Us, for example, about 15 percent of its temporary part-timers stayed on beyond the holidays, Peera said.
“Each year, following the holiday season, there are substantial growth opportunities available for high-performing seasonal employees to take on extended roles, and many seasonal and part-time workers have obtained full-time positions at the company,” she said.
Snagajob said job-seekers should look beyond traditional department and retail stores. It recommended looking into shipping companies, craft stores, restaurants, movie theaters, inventory positions and tax-preparation companies.