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D-FW employers are hiring for the holidays

On the hunt for holiday jobs? Better start now.

This fall's holiday hiring outlook is looking better than last year's, with major retailers such as Kohl's Department Stores, Toys R Us and Macy's boosting their plans for hiring temporary workers and with hiring already under way.

And in North Texas, the season for temporary work will be extended for job seekers, with Super Bowl XLV being played in Arlington on Feb. 6, on the heels of the holidays.

Amir Kumar, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, said retail sales in the region are still likely to be sluggish this fall even though many consumers have lower debt. But compared with last year, when deep job cuts were still occurring into December, things are better, he said.

"Last year, we were still trying to come out of the recession," he said.

"This holiday season, we are in a period of recovery. The holiday season should be stronger. And add to that the Super Bowl."

Last week, Kohl's announced plans to hire more than 40,000 holiday employees this year, up more than 20 percent from 2009. Two weeks ago, Toys R Us announced a 28 percent increase in planned seasonal employees because the chain is significantly increasing the number of its Holiday Express stores. Macy's plans a "slight increase" in holiday hiring, reflecting its expectation for higher sales.

And in another industry popular with holiday job seekers, UPS said last week that it expects to hire 50,000 temporary workers, the same as in 2009.

In fields like security, job seekers will likely have the opportunity to string together holiday and Super Bowl work.

S.A.F.E. Management, the Super Bowl's primary security contractor, is hiring 700 people to work as security guards for the game and related events such as the NFL Tailgate VIP party, NFL Fan Experience, NFL Media Center and league hotel, said Jamie Waite, event coordinator.

S.A.F.E. is also hiring 200 game-day ushers, ticket takers and greeters, Waite said.

Also, S.A.F.E. is working with as many as 10 subcontractors, including two already working in Cowboys Stadium, that will assign additional security guards to Super Bowl events, Waite said.

"They'll be using current staff," he said.

Similarly, S.A.F.E. will work with an as-yet-undecided number of subcontractors to assign additional game-day ushers and ticket takers besides S.A.F.E.'s, Waite said.

Security officers hired for Super Bowl events will log their first hours in mid-January and could work until late February, Waite said.

"We have the potential to get people in for 32 to 40 hours a week," he said.

Security jobs pay $10 per hour, and game-day guest service staff will be paid $9 per hour. Interviews are under way and will end in late November, he said. Candidates can contact S.A.F.E. at 817-649-1500 or by e-mail to sbxlv@safemanagement.net.

Employers who are hiring temporary seasonal workers appear to have started earlier this year than last, said Stefanie Fontanez, a spokeswoman in Richmond, Va., for SnagAJob.com, which focuses on hourly jobs.

In an annual survey of hiring managers, SnagAJob found that 50 percent plan to make holiday hires this fall, up 3 points from last year and 7 points from 2008. Among managers planning to bring on temporary workers, 47 percent planned to start by September, up 11 points from 2009.

"It appears hiring managers are going to need more people and they're going to need them sooner," Fontanez said in an interview.

"Last year, it was wait and see and 'We'll hire them if we need them.'"

John Challenger said the Chicago outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, of which he's CEO, expects to see a second straight year of holiday hiring gains nationally but still not as strong as in 2007.

"Even if retailers are not ready to make hiring decisions until November, they may begin screening candidates much earlier," Challenger said in a release.

Kohl's said it expects to hire an average 35 employees per store plus 2,200 people in distribution centers and 60 in credit, for up to 20 hours a week.

One of the company's distribution centers is in Corsicana, southeast of Dallas.

Hiring for store jobs began this month, and "most jobs will be filled by mid-November," Kohl's said. Distribution hiring began in August.

Kohl's expects total sales increases of 4.5 to 6.5 percent in the third and fourth quarters, spokeswoman Vicki Shamion said.

"Our business continues to be strong," she said. Information on Kohl's jobs is at 877-NEW-KOHLS and www.kohlscareers.com.

Toys R Us, based in Paramus, N.J., said it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal employees for its big-box stores and Holiday Express stores compared with 35,000 last year. Jobs available include managerial, sales, stocking and distribution.

Toys R Us attributed the hiring increase to there being 600 more Holiday Express stores than last year.

Existing employees can take on more hours during the holidays. And employees hired for the holidays may be able to find work in the company after the season.

Apply at www.toysruscareers.com.

Macy's said it plans to hire 65,000 seasonal employees in its stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers.

The company said it expects comp-store sales -- at stores open at least a year -- to rise 3 to 3.5 percent in the year's second half.

Apply at www.macysJOBS.com. Macy's said that hiring for store sales jobs began this month and that hiring for operations jobs began earlier.

At GameStop, the Grapevine-based video game retailer, Marissa Andrada, senior vice president of human resources, said the company hired 21,000 holiday workers last year, same as the year before.

It's not clear yet what this year's number will be, she said. But it could remain constant, given the number of new game releases this fall.

GameStop has already started hiring holiday help, with employees picking up hours at the beginning of November.

Locally, jobs are available in the stores, the Grapevine distribution center and a Grapevine refurbishment center.

Apply at www.gamestop.com or drop by a store, Andrada said.

Six Flags Over Texas, another popular seasonal employer, is still hiring for its annual Fright Fest fall extravaganza.

Tyrone Taylor, director of administration for Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor, said he's still looking for "100 or more" employees, about half in food service and others in ride operations, games and elsewhere, for Fright Fest, which runs through Halloween.

"Weather's been good," and so has fall business, he said.

Six Flags pays minimum wage, $7.50 for TABC-certified employees, he said. To apply, visit www.sixflagsjobs.com.

For private events in November and the annual Holiday in the Park, Taylor said, he anticipates hiring 100-150 more employees.

Auditions started last week for Holiday in the Park entertainers.

And then there's the Super Bowl at Six Flags' neighbor Cowboys Stadium. Six Flags will likely end up hosting some events and opening its parking lots, Taylor said.

Six Flags' annual job fair, Jan. 15-17 and 22-23 at Hurricane Harbor, "is a prime opportunity to reach out to us" for those jobs, Taylor said.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

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