It was just a year ago that managers at some retailers were having to scramble to find enough holiday workers.
This year, they're turning people away in droves.
Only one person out of every 45 who apply is being hired by department store operator Bealls Outlet Stores.
A California 7-Eleven store received more than 100 applications
in a week and a half, for jobs that pay $8.50 an hour.
Who are these jobseekers? They're not the teens or stay-at-home
moms who are usually looking to make some extra cash around the
holidays. This time, there are a lot of people who have been laid
off in other sectors of the economy, and are desperate for a way to
pay the bills.
But they're applying for work in an industry that itself is drastically cutting back on holiday hiring because of the drop-off in consumer spending.
A Michigan woman -- who was laid off along with her husband from
an automotive industry job -- has been applying for part-time jobs
at Toys 'R' Us, Home Depot and Lowes. Kimberly Caparo says she
thought it would be "pretty easy" -- but, in her words, "there
are thousands of us going for the same thing."