More skilled workers applying for holiday jobs in U.S.: report

10:48, January 01, 2011      

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With the unemployment rate remaining high across the U.S., an increasing number of skilled or white-collar workers are applying for holiday jobs, whether delivering packages or working in stores, a newspaper report said on Friday.

As retailers and others stepped up holiday hiring in anticipation of a robust Christmas shopping season this year, there were more jobs to be found, the Los Angeles Times said.

United Parcel Service, Inc., commonly referred to as UPS, hired about 50,000 seasonal workers nationwide for this year's holiday season, according to the paper.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics hasn't studied the composition of the temporary labor force since the downturn.

But Brian Castillo, a human resources supervisor at one of Los Angeles' UPS locations, said he has seen former college professors, sales executives and graphic designers joining the ranks of college students and unemployed lower-skilled workers applying for holiday jobs over the last couple of years.

Other firms are also hiring during the holiday season.

"The type of candidate that we're seeing coming in for both temporary jobs and retail jobs is certainly a higher caliber," Jodi Chavez, West Coast senior vice president with Ajilon Professional Staffing, said in remarks published by the paper.

The changing face of seasonal workers may have to do with the swelling ranks of the long-term unemployed - people who have been out of work for more than six months - who now account for more than 40 percent of all unemployed workers, said John Challenger, chief executive of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray &Christmas.

"A lot of people who might not take seasonal jobs are this time, if not just to keep sane, to get some extra cash," Challenger said.

Trent Overholt, owner of Overholt &Associates, the Los Angeles franchise of Management Recruiters International Inc., said it made sense that out-of-work professionals would turn to holiday work as a stopgap.

That's because the Christmas season coincides with a dead period in hiring for professional positions in November and December, he was quoted as saying.

"It's perfectly complementary to the business cycle for a white- collar, career-oriented person," he said.

The unemployment rate was 9.8 percent nationwide and 12.4 percent in California as of November.

Source: Xinhua
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