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More people are applying for seasonal jobs

POSTED: December 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Kelly Briscoe, manager of Mail Boxes Etc., prepares a box for shipping with packing peanuts Wednesday afternoon at the John Morrow Parkway shipping business. Even with holiday businesses uncertain during the recession, the Gainesville store keeps a couple of part-time employees on the payroll when business picks up.

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While most businesses tend to hire more employees during the holiday season to cover higher customer volume, current unemployment rates have created an unbalanced ratio of available positions compared to available applicants.

"We usually bring in a few extra people to help process all of the holiday packages, and this year is no exception. We’re not adding more positions than we had last year, but we aren’t hiring fewer people either," said Bimbo Briscoe, the co-owner of Mail Boxes Etc. on John Morrow Parkway in Gainesville.

"This year though, we’ve had a higher than normal level of people who came in wanting to apply for a position."

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Georgia is 7 percent. The unemployment rate in the metro Gainesville area is slightly lower at 6.3 percent.

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines that the number of "involuntary part-time workers" has increased by more than 2 million participants nationwide since this time last year.

Involuntary part-time workers are those people who are working part-time hours only because of the lack of available full-time jobs.

More than 500,000 jobs were eliminated across the country in November alone, in addition to 320,000 jobs cut in October and 403,000 jobs cut in September, according to the report.

While those involuntary part-time workers are waiting for full-time employment to come available, many of those people are continuing to seek part-time positions, which may explain why employers are seeing applicant behavior that bucks normal trends.

"We always hire employees throughout the year, but we’ve had more applicants come in during the past couple of months than usual," said Cristy Walker, an assistant manager of the Gap Outlet store in the Tanger Outlet Center in Commerce. "Usually the calls stop after October when people are looking for holiday jobs before Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), but we’re still getting phone calls. I guess maybe it has to do with a lack of other employment options."

Although most industries seem either to show no or little growth, the Georgia Department of Labor shows that educational services, computer systems and design, state government and accounting services all currently show the greatest amount of industry growth in Georgia. Civil engineering, amusement/recreation and the arts all show the most amount of loss in industry.



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