Image credit MichaelMinn.net
November’s jobs report was welcome news for a country long waiting to see its economy revived. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employers added more than 203,000 jobs last month, sending the unemployment rate down to around 7%, the lowest it has been in years. However, as many of the jobs added are surely seasonal (indeed the largest numbers of positions added were in warehouses and in transportation), there is a chance the unemployment rate will surge again after the winter holidays have passed. For now, though, economists and workers alike are enjoying the good times, and for the latter, much of that holiday cheer comes in the form of one of these five jobs.
5 The Christmas Tree Business
Believe it or not, selling Christmas trees is a billion dollar business annually. Oregon leads the way in terms of the most tree farms per state, and these specialized horticultural operations offer some workers employment all year-round. During the holidays, tens of thousands more workers sign on to help trim down, truss up and load the trees on top of family cars. Most of the seasonal workers are in construction, paving and other industries that largely grind to a halt during the colder months, but the obligatory high school kids can still be spotted as well. (The average price of a Christmas tree this year will be around $40, by the way.)
The work is anything but glamorous, certainly, but a job is a job when you need some extra cash. And for as many as 50,000+ people, that job could well be working for Walmart during this holiday season. At least the big box behemoth has announced it will transition 35,000 of its current part time employees into fulltime employment once the season is over. Whether or not any of those fulltime workers will be paid enough to actually make ends meet is a different story.
3 United Parcel Service
UPS is going to deliver a staggering amount of packages during this holiday season. In fact, the company estimates it will handle well over half a billion packages between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. And that means they need more hands on the steering wheels of their iconic brown trucks, more hands moving items around in their warehouses and fulfillment centers, and more heads wearing headsets handling a surge in call volume. To meet all that added demand, they plan to add more than 55,000 seasonal jobs.
Amazon.com has been in the news a lot lately, with its Sunday delivery deal with the Post Office and CEO Jeff Bezos’s reveal of their plan to use “octocopter” drones for wildly efficient deliveries. For 70,000 or more seasonal workers, the company is going to play a much bigger role than news story—it is going to be their temporary source of income. The online retail giant is hiring 20,000 more workers to staff their mighty fulfillment centers than they did in 2012, and for at least a few thousand of the 70K hired this year, their seasonal work will lead directly to fulltime employment as Amazon continues to grow.
Step into a Macy’s department store during this time of year and it actually won’t be hard to believe the immense number of workers they are set to hire this holiday season. Between the partnered Macy’s and Bloomindale’s stores, more than 83,000 people might find temporary employment this year. Many of those workers will be manning the shoe department or helping with gift wrapping jobs; others will be in factories and call centers. One Macy’s store alone, the company’s immense flagship operation in New York City, will hire as many as 3,000 workers for that single location.