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Chicago Residents Search For Seasonal Jobs During The Pandemic

Some companies are hiring more employees for extra help around the holidays

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Online companies are seeing an increase in sales with more people shopping from home during the pandemic. Companies even right here in Chicago are looking to hire seasonal workers to meet online demands.

But the job search has not been easy for Mireya Favela during a pandemic.

"It's definitely tough when you're looking around and trying to get something that other people are interested in as well," said Favela.

She’s been looking for extra work to make ends meet.

“I mean it’s very frustrating, very tough, sometimes like discouraging,” she said. “There’s a lot of different candidates right now people that lost their job during COVID obviously they’re looking for jobs as well.”

Favela is trying to remain optimistic, but knows the competition is tough.

“There’s so many people looking for opportunities right now that makes it tough for everybody to get their foot in the door somewhere,” she said.

Latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor showed around 712,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. Some companies have even scaled back on hiring compared to last year.

Online companies, like Amazon, are looking to add 100,000 new seasonal jobs nationwide—more than 6,500 positions in Illinois, according to a spokesperson.  

Retail giants, like Walmart, announced plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers. Meanwhile, Target is expecting to be on par with last year when the company hire around 130,000 seasonal team members.

In Chicago, the owner of an online business told NBC 5 they are growing so fast -- they’re looking to hire 20 to 30 seasonal workers to help with the holidays.

“We expanded from our 2,000 square foot office to our 5,000 and with that we just need more bodies in here, more manpower,” said Jonah Belanger, CEO and founder of HoloGear.

The company sells holographic sports gear and reflective apparel.

“We started off with a hundred basketball as our first purchase,” he said. “The basketball was our very first item and then we scaled up to now we order 20,000 to 30,000 units per time.”

Belanger wants to hire locally—looking for people who can pack orders in their warehouse. He said they’re shipping anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 orders per day. In about a year and a half he said the company made $5 million in sales.

“We’re feeling great overwhelmed which is why we’re hiring a lot right now just because of the sheer volume that Christmas has brought,” he said.

Meanwhile, Macy’s announced last October it was hiring 80,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season with 30,000 positions at its fulfillment facilities. This year the company told NBC 5 in a statement the company is hiring 25,000 full and part time seasonal employees to work at fulfillment facilities across the country to help with online orders.

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