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September 23rd, 2009Forecast cloudy for holiday hiring

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by Steve Giegerich
STLToday.com

Job seekers hoping the holiday shopping season will bring the gift of a seasonal paycheck may end up with an economic lump of coal if the latest estimates are right.

The question: Will 2009 look like 2003-07, when retailers hired an average of 571,000 workers annually to assist with the holiday rush?

Or will it be a repeat of 2008, when seasonal hires fell 62 percent below the 618,000 workers on holiday payrolls the year before?

For 14.5 million unemployed Americans, not to mention thousands of others hoping to pick up a few extra bucks for presents this December, the answer balances on a single factor: whether the 3.4 percent decline in 2008 holiday spending carries over into 2009.

Would-be employees should know more when the National Retail Federation releases its 2009 spending forecast, a key benchmark for the retail trade, in early October.

But a preliminary outlook isn’t good: 69 percent of respondents to a BIGresearch survey in July said they plan on spending less on holiday shopping this year than last.

Read complete article.

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