Holiday Job Outlook Not So Merry

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Looking for some part-time work at a retailer to pull in some extra Christmas cash? Good luck with that.

Many retailers said they intend to barely increase their seasonal jobs from last year, when hiring was among the lowest in the 14 years tracked by the National Retail Federation.

"Job creation has been very limited in the last six months," Idaho Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick told Citydesk. "We're still looking for that factor to jump start to the job outlook. Let's just say things are stable at the bottom."

Nationwide, the headhunting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, forecast that retailers will add up to 600,000 thousand jobs between now and the end of the year. Compare that to a net gain of 501,400 holiday jobs over the same period a year ago.

"This is slow digging out of a deep recession," said John Challenger, the firm's CEO.

Temporary hiring has traditionally been a way for employers to test the economical waters before committing to permanent hires.

"Some jobs are available," Pam Eaton of the Idaho Retailers Association told Citydesk. "But not as many as in years past."

Nationwide, retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy, said they will keep holiday staffing on par with last year.

The jobs themselves are also less than ideal for many struggling families, given that they often lack benefits and provide unpredictable and relatively short hours. Even before the recession began, the typical retail worker's week had shrunk to fewer than 32 hours, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.