Jobseekers turn to seasonal work to get by - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Jobseekers turn to seasonal work to get by

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Many people looking for part-time work during the holidays may be disappointed. The nationwide jobless rate is up to 9.8-percent, the highest level since 1983. The rate is even higher here in Georgia.

Seasonal jobs have always been an option for people looking for extra cash. What about this year?  There are some jobs, but now is the time to start filling out those applications. Stores have been swamped with inquiries. With so many people unemployed, some jobseekers are taking the road of "temporary employment is better than no employment."

Searching for a job has become a full-time job for many South Georgians. Weeks have turned into months with no work for Tylia Hunter. "About six months.  It's frustrating," said Hunter.

Robert Davidson shares her frustration. "I have bills. I have a son. It's difficult," said Davidson.

He was laid off three months ago. "You look for work and can't hardly find it anywhere," said Davidson.

Like Hunter and Davidson, people looking for work are steadily turning to the Goodwill Career Center in Albany. "Men, women and even 16, 17 year-olds coming in looking for full-time, part-time and as they say, anything they can get right now," said Career Center Manager Crystal Askew.

With some jobs becoming scarce, some are looking to seasonal positions. Retailers typically boost their staffing by about 10-percent in the 4th quarter. "Seasonal employees play a key role in our success in the 4th quarter just being able to make sure that we have them on board to handle the additional customer traffic," said Albany Sears Operations Manager Kelvin Tompkins.

But getting a seasonal retail job isn't as open and closed as it used to be. Now, more people are clamoring for those jobs and this year there may not be as many to go around. "The economy will dictate how much we can hire," said Tompkins.

Sears in Albany can normally hire between 15 and 20 workers for the holiday season. Nowadays, more than just high school or college students or stay at home moms looking for extra spending money are turning in applications for those positions. "Especially here in Albany with the closing of a lot of businesses, we get a lot of those people as well," said Tompkins.

Sears will have to hire new employees in phases instead of all at once but they hope to hire as many as possible. "We certainly hope that business rebounds and we can hire a few more," said Tompkins.

Tompkins say they're going through their applications and plan to start interviewing over the course of the next several weeks. That's motivation for long-time jobseekers like Davidson who isn't giving up just yet.

"I'm confident that I'll find one because if you're not confident, then you lose hope," said Davidson. As we lose more jobs, some part-time work will have to get some families by with continued hopes of full-time money.

According to a recent survey of some big retailers, 40-percent said they plan to hire fewer temporary workers this year. Last month, the most job losses came in retail, construction, manufacturing and government.

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