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Despite economy, some companies hiring holiday help



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Even with a lagging economy, many companies are hiring for the holidays. Experts say job seekers just need to look in the right place.

Many people traditionally turn to malls, thinking stores there will need extra help this time of year. But because retail sales are not increasing enough this holiday season, many retailers have chosen to forgo hiring extra help.

The Gateway's marketing manager told us only about half of the stores that usually hire seasonal workers will do so this year. She said that trend started last year, with stores choosing to keep more full-time employees who already know the product.

Neal Summers with the temporary staffing company Kelly Services said, "Companies are being very cautious. What they're saying is, ‘Let's start with five, and we'll see how it goes with five.' Then they'll continue to increase."

Summers said Kelly Services typically sees more positions to fill at call centers during the holidays. Those companies need extra people to take holiday orders, and credit card call centers need employees to answer more calls dealing with credit balances and limits.

He said companies that manufacture goods for the holidays also are looking for extra help.

An increasing number of people are shopping online and having their items shipped. That means companies like FedEx and UPS will be busy.

Stephen Goodrich of UPS said, "Our volume increases dramatically. We expect to go from a normal of about 15 million deliveries a day to about 20 million on our peak day."

UPS will try to fill about 350 positions along the Wasatch Front before the end of the month. It's looking for "driver helpers."

"A driver helper is a position where we hire these folks to ride with the driver and be the driver's right hand. They work together as a team and make sure all the deliveries are made as they need to be each day," Goodrich explained.

The driver helper position is classified as a part-time job, but Goodrich said employees might work anywhere from two to nine hours each day, depending on the workload.

If you are interested in the job, you can apply online at www.ups.com.

Summers suggested applying at several places this year because the number of applicants is up.

"What I believe this year is those who are diligent, who are there all the time, actively looking, they will be able to find something. It might not be what they always wanted to do, but they'll be able to find something," Summers said.

Hiring experts say the key is to look for these positions now instead of waiting until December.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

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