Christmas hiring

Hiring usually picks up around the Christmas season as retailers and other businesses gear up for the extra buying that’s expected. But with the economy still challenged and unemployment near 10 percent, will we see much additional hiring this year? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“We will see hiring. … I think most economists expect it to be modest., but nationally we expect about a half million people to be put on the payrolls for the Christmas season.  Now that means they’re … temporary. They’ll be added,and then they’ll be dismissed when … January comes.

“Of that half million, about 15,000 will be here in North Carolina. And … to put this in perspective, we have about 130  million jobs in the nation, and we have about 3.5 million here in the state.

“I think retailers are still being cautious.  One of the better estimates I think of sales gains is they’ll be around 2 percent. Now one area where it’s expected they’ll be strong hiring is in delivery services, where hiring is expected to be up 18 percent. And what this is a result of is the increased spending by households on online buying.  And of course those online products then have to be delivered to … the homes. That’s where you get the big boost in delivery services in point.”

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