Unemployment in the US remains in the 10% range, mind you, that is the official number. That doesn’t take into account the number of people who have simply given up looking for work and are not officially counted in the tally.
In some of the hardest hit states, that number is perilously close to 18%.
There is some good, albeit temporary news on the horizon, however. In another sign the economy is beginning to shake some dust off its boots, US retailers are expected to boost holiday season hirings this year, at numbers greater than we have seen the last three years.
Toys R Us, for example, is expected to double its work force, hiring 45,000 seasonal workers, in an effort to staff and support their Toys R Us Express stores, which have been popping up in malls all over the country.
Retail giant Macy’s just announced it will add 65,000 jobs in anticipation of a stronger holiday season in 2010.
According to the web site SnagAJob.com, which focuses on hourly jobs, 50 percent of hourly hiring managers will add seasonal workers this year, up from 47 percent last year and up from 32 percent in 2008.
Wages are up to, as much as 6% or more from previous years, when holiday seasonal hiring was bleak.
Obviously, retailers are expecting a more robust holiday shopping season than in the last couple of years and are staffing up in anticipation of that. For people who have had difficulty finding work, even a temporary job can take some pressure off and create a more traditional and joyous atmosphere during the season.
Bottom line, if there are more people in the workforce, earning income, that means there will be a higher level of consumer sentiment, more people will shop and the benefits of that will extend beyond the holiday season and well into 2011.