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November 16, 2011 09:50 PM

Seasonal Worker Shortage In KELOLAND

Sioux Falls, SD


While many people struggle to find work across the country, there's the opposite problem in KELOLAND. There are hundreds of jobs available, especially for seasonal work, but not enough people to fill them all.
Like most stores around town, Lewis Drug has all of its holiday merchandise already on display.

"The seasonal push has started earlier than we've ever seen before. In just walking in stores you notice that; so the need for those people has really accelerated," Roxie Loftesness of Availability Employment said.

The need for people to stock those Christmas shelves is greater than ever.

Statewide the unemployment rate is down a tick from this time last year, but available jobs are way up.
There are 1,256 jobs open in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties alone and a good chunk of them are seasonal.

"It's a phenomenal opportunity for people who are looking. There is competition for those jobs because on the other side of the spectrum there are lots of full-time opportunities competing for those same individuals," Loftesness said.

"There's plenty of jobs out there and we're in a market where there's stiff competition," Bob Deaton of Lewis Drug said.

Lewis says it plans all year for the big seasonal push in hiring.

"At this point most of the Lewis stores are staffed up for the season. We worked at it pretty hard. There is always a number of things that happen at last minute we have to compensate for," Deaton said.

Like people who take on second jobs for the holiday season, but realize they can't handle the extra hours.

"The work force is always fluid. There are always some openings that happen with a company as large as ours," Deaton said.

The good news behind all this competition; it helps drive up wages.

"I think it's really the light at the end of the tunnel. We're seeing the opportunities out there and people will have opportunity after the first of the year we're going to see growth continue in our labor market, it's exciting," Loftesness said.

And extra help for the holidays isn't just needed in the retail sector. Many of those jobs are in the hospitality and food industry as well as the call centers.
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