Holiday-Job Shopping

It may seem as if the year-end holidays are far away, but if you're shopping for a retail job, it's not too soon. Just be prepared for fewer openings this season than last.

Some stores like to staff up before Halloween because it's a big selling season, too. So the same folks who play Santa's helpers often sell fall treats before demand picks up for dreidels and candy canes.

Chains including Macy's, CompUSA and BCBG Max Azria are advertising now for holiday help. At Nordstrom, hiring starts in October for the Half Yearly Sale for women and children Nov. 2-12 and runs nearly to Christmas. "We almost can't have enough people for those last two weeks in December," said Cathy Williams, human resource director for 11 Washington area Nordstrom stores.

She expects to hire about the same number of people as last year, but other retailers may trim fourth-quarter hiring. Manpower Inc. reports that while 35 to 38 percent of retailers expect to increase hiring, retail/wholesale recruitment is waning compared with last year and the third quarter.

So, think of seasonal job-hunting like holiday shopping -- it helps to get an early start.

-- Vickie Elmer