Local News

Merchants Hiring for the Holidays

Posted October 28, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— It's only October, so for most of us, it's much too early to start thinking about the holiday season. For the post office and retailers, the planning 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 find permanent workers. This Christmas, many retailers will come up short when it comes to finding seasonal workers.

As retailers set up for another holiday sales season, there's some degree of trouble in the trimmings. There are more seasonal jobs than qualified workers to fill them. Store managers are stuck with the byproduct of an unemployment 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 it is 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 and the clothes, and she likes to service the customers.

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

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

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