By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Christmas is 74 days away — which means it’s prime season for retailers looking for holiday help.

According to the National Retail Federation, stores will bring on up to 550,000 seasonal workers this year.

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It’s clear from the constant chatter at Ranstad, a recruiting and staffing office in Roseville, October is a busy time of year.

One interviewee was in looking to be forklift operator. Another was hoping for anything that pays well.

“A lot of people do come around this time of year, looking for additional hours to make some more money throughout the holiday season,” said Ranstad’s Kelley Hagerty.

Macy’s is hiring 80,000 people, and Amazon announced it will bring on another 120,000 during the holidays.

Walmart says it will mostly offer its current workers more hours.

(credit: CBS)

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A Target spokeswoman told WCCO the Minneapolis-based retailer will hire an additional 100,000 seasonal workers, which is 30,000 more than last year.

The jobs range from cashiers, to drivers, to stockers, to crowd control. They will be located inside stores, at warehouses, call centers and delivery trucks. Target says it will train some of its new employees to be experts in Target’s brands.

Most of the seasonal workers take the holiday employment as a second job. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota retailers hired 10,600 people during the 2016 holidays. Five-thousand others were hired for transportation and warehousing.

Oriane Casale, assistant director of the Labor Market Information Office at DEED, expects similar numbers in 2017, but isn’t sure there 15,000 Minnesotans that will fill these jobs. The labor market is tight right now.

“I think the jury’s still out on that,” Casale said. “I think employers are going to have a harder time hiring.”

Retailers are already paying more for workers. Hagerty says employers are more flexible with holiday scheduling compared to the past.

“Scheduling is a huge marketing factor for them,” Hagerty said. “‘Hey, we’ll give you the schedule that works for your family.'”

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So, when those gifts arrive in December, remember to think about all the workers who made it possible.

Heather Brown