'Tis Not the Season for Holiday Job Seekers

Consumer Confidence Plunges to Record Low

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Despite a strong start to the holiday shopping season, the consumer confidence is down.

    A huge drop in consumer confidence is expected to mean big savings for holiday shoppers.  But the holidays won't be as merry for people looking for seasonal employment.

    If you're planning to scale back on holiday buying, you're not alone.  The  Consumer Confidence Index reached an historic low in October. The number is down to 38 -- last month it was 64.

    Concerns over unemployment, the housing market, and the stock market have shoppers nervous about spending. 

    "If you are an affluent consumer you've been been hit by the stock market.  It's been across the board, almost every group of consumers has been affected by the current economy," said George Whalen, a retail consultant in Carlsbad.

     "I'll probably do as much shopping, but i won't buy big ticket items, big stuff,  I'll just do more fun stuff probably," said Linda Senscall as she left Best Buy in  Mission Valley.

    Marketing experts predict the drop in consumer confidence and the troubled economy  will force retailers across San Diego County to slash prices.

    George Belch, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, says patience will pay off.

    'If consumers want to wait it out as we get closer to the holidays and the numbers are as bad as the retailers expect we'll see even more deals," said Belch.

    The sales are no deal though for people shopping for seasonal employment.  Major retailers that usually hire extra help to handle the crowds are hiring fewer people or no one  at all. 

    The retail sector lost one thousand jobs in San Diego County from August to September.

    "The prospects for additional hiring to gear up for the traditional hiring for the holiday season appears tepid at best.  Even Internet retail companies have laid off employees.  And when that happens, that's not an encouraging sign," said Mary Cate O'Malley, director of communications and outreach for San Diego Workforce Partnership.
     
    In fact, the Partnership just canceled a seasonal job fair set for next week.  O'Malley says that is a first.