Most recessions hit mostly blue-collar workers from construction, manufacturing industries. These workers seek temporary sales jobs during the Christmas Holiday Season. Well now they got competition from professionals, accountants, Advertising Executives just to name a few.
There are 6 million people who are unemployment for 6 months and many are applying for jobs that normally goes high school and college students, retirees; and those who need a little extra money during the holiday season.
Meet Mara Proctor, a temporary store manger at Sticks design boutique at the prestigious Country Club Plaza Shopping Center Kansas City. For six years Proctor went from client to client in designing limestone hearths for luxury homes and condominiums in the Kansas City area. Last year she worked a contractor using computer aided design now she sell Santa figurines and sculptured snowmen.
Proctor, was laid off eight months ago said she figured, “OK, I’ll do the unemployment thing for a couple of weeks and get a new job.”
“It was very naive,” she said. “You start calling all your contacts, and you find out they’re all laid off, too, so your contacts list doesn’t mean anything.”
The retail industry is now drawing professionals, managers ,teachers and engineers to fill holiday sales positions.
“You’ll find Wall Street stock brokers and small business owners trying to find temporary retail jobs during the holidays,” said Ellen Davis, vice president of the National Retail Federation.
The low skill low paying temporary jobs gives long termed unemployed hope in a battered job market.
Making things complicated that the retail industry lost over a million jobs due companies going out of business or laying off workers, competition for these jobs are fierce.
“Not only are there fewer positions, but more people are applying,” Davis said.
There is upside for employers the are able to hire high quality workers if only temporary.
“It enables us to be somewhat more selective and hire a higher-caliber” clerk, said Glenn Album, vice president of human resources at Toys R Us. Album said the company this year has hired, among others, former teachers and an accountant.
“What’s great with the higher-caliber team members is there is much, much better service in the store,” he said.
In South Florida as local candy maker was swamped with applicants for temporary holiday work. Hoffman Chocolates in Greenacres, Fl in Palm Beach County took out an ad for 45 workers in the factory and on the sales floor.550 applied the for the available positions. In years past was difficult to hire workers. Now the tables have turned says Fred Metzler CEO of Hoffman Chocolates.
Some of the applicants came from the Circulation Department of the Palm Beach Post newspaper. Others came from area law firms. One was department store manger, Lisa Pagan, 32,divorced mother of two. Pagan out of work for more than a year put on her best interview suit and apply. She got the job. Pagan is making less than half of what she earned as store manger.
“It’s very scary out there right now,” she said. “You get 101 excuses why they can’t hire you. You get into panic mode.”
In Detroit, the nation’s worst labor market with 15.2% People are desperate for work. At Showtime Detroit a clothing store, manger Dan Tatarian has received questions about available positions from mortgage brokers among others.
They just want a job,” Tatarian said. “They don’t care what they’re doing.”
Steve Beebe was an engineer with two post-graduate degrees who worked for years at General Motors took a buyout in September feeling there no future at the nation’s largest auto maker. Beebe 33, worked at development lab once earn $75,000.
Beebe was looking for engineer positions with no luck. He now answer phones at a Moosejaw Mountaineering online retailer in suburban Detroit earning a mere $8.00 per hour.