It’s September and holiday workers are already in high demand

Justin Ho Sep 10, 2019
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A clerk rings up sales for a customer at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois, during the holiday shopping season. Scott Olson/Getty Images

It’s September and holiday workers are already in high demand

Justin Ho Sep 10, 2019
A clerk rings up sales for a customer at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois, during the holiday shopping season. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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This week, a few big companies announced plans to staff up ahead of the holiday shopping season. Target’s looking for 130,000 people. UPS needs 100,000. 

To beat the competition, companies are offering different kinds of incentives, like Target’s 10% discount for employees.

“People really like those kinds of incentives,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist at The New School for Social Research. “People who work at Christmas also are people who have to buy Christmas and other holiday presents.”

Seasonal work at shipping companies like UPS appeals to workers whose normal jobs are slow during the holiday season.

Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, said that includes a lot of farmers and college students. UPS is offering to pay seasonal workers up to $1,300 in tuition reimbursement.

But perks are one thing. Seasonal work is starting to pay more, too.

“In general, an hour of work is rewarding people more than it has in the past,” said Peter Orazem, an economics professor at Iowa State University.

Ghilarducci said we expect companies to pay more when unemployment is so low.

“In a tight labor market, you would have to induce people who normally wouldn’t work, which means that employers would have to pay a little bit more,” he said.

UPS says its starting rate this year is $14 an hour, up from $10.10 an hour last year. Target will pay $13 an hour, after raising its overall minimum wage earlier this year.

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