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Merchants Hiring for the Holidays

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Believe it or not, the Christmas decorations are already going up at local malls.
DURHAM — It's only October, so for most of us, it's much too early to startthinking about the holiday season. For the post office and retailers, theplanning can never start too soon.

The unemployment rate is about 2% in Durham. In Wake and Orange Counties,it's less than 2%. With numbers like that, it's difficult enough to findpermanent workers. This Christmas, many retailers will come up short whenit comes to finding seasonal workers.

As retailers set up for another holiday sales season, there's some degreeof trouble in the trimmings. There are more seasonal jobs than qualifiedworkers to fill them. Store managers are stuck with the byproduct of anunemployment than continues on a downward slide.

"We have been very fortunate here at Belks," says manager Doug Johnson. "But I did hear a lot of people in the mall talking about how difficult itis to get people and to get good people."

Belk gets creative. It hires veteran retired workers to come back for the holidays. Joyce Story comes back because she likes the merchandise andthe clothes, and she likes to service the customers.

The Durham Post Office could have trouble delivering on its seasonalneeds. It wants 83 skilled seasonal workers. Postmaster Larry Jonesconfers that it's difficult at time to find good help. He and many otherswill be starting early.

At the Durham employment security commission, the call is coming in fromemployers who are anything but secure.

At Belk stores, seasonal workers can get 20% off all purchases and evencommission on sales. The Postmaster is ready to pay seasonal workers $10an hour. The Durham employment security commission tells WRAL that thereare two jobs available for every seasonal worker in Durham County.

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