South Dakota retailers ramp up holiday hiring, even during pandemic

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The number of unemployment claims in South Dakota continues to drop.

Last month the state dropped to 4.1 percent unemployment just as retail stores begin to ramp up hiring for seasonal holiday workers.

“We normally start thinking about it even in August, September,” Child’s Play Toys owner Nancy Savage said.

Nancy Savage with Child’s Play toys has already hired all of her additional holiday staff.

“During the holidays we do such a large portion of our business during 4th quarter, so we really depend on people coming in to help,” Savage said.

Even though the pandemic of 2020 has impacted her business, Savage is planning for another busy holiday shopping season this year.

“We’re really being optimistic so we haven’t reduced at all,” Savage said.

“I don’t think there will be fewer seasonal jobs, but there have been fewer workers available for those jobs,” South Dakota Retailers Association Executive Director Nathan Sanderson said.

Sanderson says many businesses in the state are still hiring for the holidays and some are now getting concerned about finding enough help.

“We’re at 4.1 percent unemployment so a lot of businesses have help wanted signs out right now to ramp up for that holiday season,” Sanderson said.

Retailers are not just prepping for more business in stores, but also online.

“We do anticipate doing a lot of online business over the holidays,” Savage said. “Our online business has really blossomed over the last six months and we’re still doing free in town delivery.”

While the online orders may mean less traffic in stores, it still means more hands are needed to fill the additional online orders over the holidays.

“Regardless of whether a customer is stepping foot inside a store or placing an order online, someone has to process that order in some way,” Sanderson said.

“It does take a lot of time, so with the additional help, we can all work on that to get those holiday items shipped out or delivered,” Savage said.

A lot of seasonal workers come back to retailers every year for a little extra fun and cash over the holiday season, but this year members of the SD Retailers Association are also seeing more seasonal applicants who are looking to make up for some of the income they may have lost during the pandemic earlier this year.

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