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Many Retailers And Other Companies Are Amping Up Benefits To Attract Holiday Seasonal Workers This Year

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Oh, the weather outside isn't the least bit frightful – it's balmy.

But we're still thinking about the holiday season, because many companies are already struggling to hire enough workers. So what is going to happen when they need to bulk up for the holidays?

As CBS 2's Asal Rezaei reported Tuesday, retailers and other seasonal employers are finding themselves pulling out all the stops and amping up the benefits to attract workers.

There are more than a million job openings across the country going into the holiday season, and experts say the one thing that is different this year is that employers are offering permanent positions that will last even after the holiday season is over.

That is one of many measures employers are using to entice workers.

"Employers are starting to raise wages. They're offering signing bonuses, which was something we never see in this area of the economy," said Andy Challenger, senior vice president of the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. "And we're also seeing increased benefits - childcare benefits, extra time off for workers - anything employers can do to convince people to come back into the work."

Challenger said demand for workers is not going anywhere anytime soon. In July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 1.2 million job openings across the country.

Challenger said retailers are adding about 700,000 new workers during the upcoming holiday season.

"There's almost no chance that employers are going to be able to employ as many people as they would like to this holiday season," Challenger said. "Demand is really high."

We reached out to companies that have announced plans for large-scale seasonal hirings. Out of Amazon, Walmart, Michaels, Aldi, and UPS, only UPS replied.

UPS did not really answer whether or not they are concerned about filling those seasonal roles, but they did say nearly a third of UPS workers hired for seasonal jobs last year were hired permanently after the holiday season. They are hoping to attract more applicants that way this year.

"There's a lot of hope that the labor shortage is going to start to come to an end," Challenger said. "As COVID-19 starts to recede, some of these childcare issues start to recede, and as well as the expiring unemployment benefits that ended last week."

On top of retail, the transportation and warehousing industries are also seeing a really high demand for workers as even more people have turned to online shopping throughout the pandemic.

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