Retailers ramp up holiday hiring in Southern California

"Black Friday" Marks Start Of Holiday Shopping Season

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Bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Macy's on 'Black Friday' on November 25, 2011 in New York City. Macy's expects to hire even more seasonal workers this year to help shoppers during the holidays.

Retailers are ramping up their holiday hiring in hopes that this year’s Christmas shopping season will be even brighter.

Macy’s Inc. plans to hire 8,000 holiday workers for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s in Southern California. It’s part of a plan to hire 80,000 seasonal workers nationwide, an increase of about 3 percent from last year. Kohl’s, Toys “R” Us and other retailers are also increasing their holiday staffs.

“Hiring additional associates for holidays ensures that our customers are well-served in this busy shopping period—both on the sales floor and behind the scenes,” said Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren. “Moreover, our seasonal positions help a wide range of Americans earn extra money.”

Economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation said any type of additional hiring is good news. California’s unemployment rate in September was 10.2 percent, higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.

“Seasonal hiring puts more people back to work, which generates more consumer spending, which is a good thing for the economy,” Ritter-Martinez said.

She also pointed out that even though such holiday jobs are temporary, sometimes they do extend into full-time work.

Holiday sales are expected increase about 4 percent this year to more than $586 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers will spend about $750 on gifts, decorations and holiday-related items, the federation said.

“We’ve seen this pattern of cautious optimism all year and despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate with friends and family,” said Matthew Shay, the federation’s CEO.

FedEx said shipments from Thanksgiving to Christmas worldwide are projected to increase 13 percent to more than 280 million.

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