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Holiday Hiring Begins: Where the Jobs Are

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The holiday season is approaching and retailers across the nation have already begun announcing plans to add staffers to the payroll this year.  According to retail trade association National Retail Federation, retailers will add 585,000 to 625,000 hires.

“This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession.  In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

One company adding to its payroll is Target, which will be one of the largest seasonal employers this year.  The retail giant will hire 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal employees this year, which is down from 90,000 employees in 2011, according to Biz Journals

According to the Wall Street Journal, Target’s figures are down this year because the Minneapolis-based company hired 30 percent of its seasonal staff from the previous holiday season for year-round positions.”

The NRF expects consumers to increase spending 4.1 percent at retailers this holiday season.

In preparation for shoppers, Macy’s is hiring 80,000 seasonal associates for the 2012 holiday season. 

In addition to offering its current employees more hours, Walmart plans to hire 50,000 seasonal associates. 

In September, Kohl’s department store announced plans to add 52,700 season employees this year, up 10 percent from 2011. 

Toys “R” Us' staff of seasonal employees is up by 5,000 this year.  The toys store will add 45,000 employees at stores and distribution centers for the 2012 holiday season.

But it’s not just the nationwide retailers that are hiring seasonal employees.  Regional retailer Meijer Inc., which has more than 200 stores, has plans to hire 12,000 employees as it prepares for the upcoming holiday season.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consultant firm, seasonal hiring is expected to be up compared with last year but remains below pre-recession levels.

“Recent consumer confidence readings have been relatively weak and unemployment remains stubbornly high.  The mixed picture is likely to compel retail employers to proceed cautiously when it comes to hiring extra workers for the holiday season,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas in a statement.

“Look for many to start at last year’s levels and hire additional workers only if strong sales early in the season warrant it,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio