GREEN BAY - If you're looking for extra cash in your pocket this holiday season, stores have already started the search for people to hire.
700,000 seasonal positions are expected to be available nationwide.
Many will be here in Northeast Wisconsin.
Good news, considering unemployment is 7.5 percent in the state.
So we will soon see more people behind the registers, but experts say we'll also most likely see more cash flowing into those registers this season.
However projections aren't as bright as previous years.
Halloween is still several weeks away and already, stores are thinking about filling your Christmas list.
"Oh we started thinking about Christmas two months ago," said Target Executive Team leader Adam Parker. "Christmas is our favorite time of year. That's really when our guests are in here, buying gifts for others."
Both east and west side Target stores in the Green Bay area are looking to hire.
The stores want around 170 people combined.
Nationally, Target plans to hire more than 80,000 which officials say is about average.
"Nationally we have a 30% retention rate for our seasonal hires," Parker said. "We always love to keep on get great team members that are really guest driven."
Other large chains plan to up their game even more this year.
Toys"R"Us plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers nationwide.
That's up 5,000 from the year before.
Locally, store officials say they plan to hire more than 120 workers to staff the two Toys"R"Us stores in the Green Bay-Appleton market.
While stores prepare for the crowds, experts also predict big sales.
The National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales will rise 4.1 percent over last year.
However, the projections are still lower than the growth we've seen the past two years.
"Holiday sales are sort of the manifestation of consumer confidence," said St. Norbert Professor of Economics Kevin Quinn.
Still, economists say the projections are a positive sign for retailers, considering almost half of their sales come in the last two months of the year.
However, they say it's still far from perfect.
"The forecast is better than what we've seen on average over the last ten years in terms of growth, so that's good," Quinn said. "What we're really seeing is, I think, a continued tepid recovery. It's a recovery, it's been going to a long time, but it's definitely not robust. I think everyone would like it to be stronger."
Stores plan to fill the seasonal positions within the next month or two.
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