Big holiday shopping season means more holiday jobs

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Retailers are on the hunt for holiday workers, and this year many retailers report hundreds of seasonal jobs could result in long-term employment.

At a job fair at Oak Park Mall Saturday, Stephen Shalinsky filled out applications for seasonal work. He said he was employed for 24 years at a marketing company.

"I was laid off out of the clear blue," Shalinsky said.

Then he started collecting unemployment benefits, just like 12 million people across the country.

"I became a 99 weeker." he said. "I was on unemployment for 99 weeks because it took me two years and three months to secure a position."

Shalinsky has since found full-time work, but says it does not pay enough to cover all his expenses.

So he is back to filling out applications. This time, he is looking for seasonal work at the Oak Park Mall.

Forty retailers posted openings at the mall for full-time, part-time and seasonal work. More than 100 people filled out applications in a courtyard outside Dillard's Saturday.

Scott Anglemeyer, with the Workforce Partnership, said whether it is seasonal, part-time or low wage, job-seekers shouldn't miss an opportunity to keep from having gaps on their resume.

"Take a job, realizing it's your bridge to something else but keep on the market and jump when better opportunities come along," Anglemeyer said. "Employers certainly let people go easily, so it's not like it was 20 years ago when you take a job and you need to stay 10-20 years. That doesn't happen anymore."

There are positive signs of improvement.

Unemployment has dropped in Missouri and Kansas. Both states added a combined 20,000 jobs last year.

Yet, Anglemeyer said bouncing back to post-recession levels could still be two years away.

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