Holiday jobs spur stiff competition

The Christmas music is already on the radio and decorations are going up, the holiday season is on us, and for those without jobs it can be a hopeful time as retailers usually add jobs. But in this year's economy there will be fewer of those seasonal jobs, and the competition will be more fierce.

"It's going to be hard," said Mary Khouza.

We interviewed her in front of a carousel, and she says lately life for her and her husband has been a merry go round.

"Car payment, rent, plus the regular bills of life, plus the added credit card bills," she said.

Mary and her husband are both looking for parttime work at least through the holidays. Her husband has a fulltime job but his plant shut down for a week to slow production.

Normally Concord Mills retailers hire hundreds of holiday workers, but this year there aren't quite as many signs out.

"We get at least 4 applications per day," said one clothing store manager who is hopeful for a good season.

"We know we will be busy, so we're going to keep the same amount of staff on hand so we'll have enough for our customers," said Andrew Templeton.

Tim Bloodworth of the Bass Pro Shop added, 'I think a lot of people are taking a stand back approach, or cutting back a bit, but we're just the opposite, we're excited about the fourth quarter."

Bass Pro is actually hiring more people this year, they hired 30 just to work in this new Christmas display. That's an encouraging sign for Mary Khouza, but she says there are other factors that could keep her on this dizzying ride of wondering how to make ends meet.

"It's going to be more competitive now than it has been in the past because you've got a bunch of industrial jobs laid off," added Mary.

That's another reality, you have students wanting these jobs for the holidays now competing with laid off workers from full time jobs, even seniors wanting back into the job market.

How can you improve your chances? Two retail managers at Concord Mills told us they are looking for people who are passionate about the product they will represent and people who can be friendly to customers. They also say an eager attitude and being punctual are big benefits that make potential employees stand out from the crowd.