- Associated Press - Sunday, October 8, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Halloween may still be weeks out, but Nebraska companies are already planning for winter holiday hiring.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that it’s not too early to start applying for seasonal jobs, even if the peak holiday season is two months away. Those looking to make some extra holiday cash could find a mixed bag of opportunity: Some retailers are adding more seasonal workers, while others are pulling back.

Citing a record number of calls in its inbound call center last year, online food retailer took Omaha Steaks says seasonal hiring this holiday season will jump 30 percent.

Wylene Woodard, talent acquisition supervisor at Omaha Steaks, said that adds up to about 3,500 seasonal positions, with around 2,900 of them in the company’s inbound call centers. The company will open a 250-seat call center in Bellevue’s old Southroads Mall - just for the holiday season - to meet the demand.

The company will host hiring fairs every week, Monday through Thursday, through Nov. 21. Most employees work 15 to 20 hours per week, and schedules are flexible.

Incentives for returning employees include a $100 bonus each year they return, up to $500.

That’s why Emelie Sullivan, 76, has been working at Omaha Steaks seasonally for nearly 20 years.

“Once you get up to the point that they pay a $500 bonus, it’s kind of hard to turn that down,” Sullivan said. She also enjoys a discount on Omaha Steaks products for the year, which she uses to purchase Christmas gifts.

But Nebraska Furniture Mart said it plans to hire 55 to 60 cashiers, warehouse workers and sales people, down from 100 people last year. Oriental Trading also said it would hire fewer seasonal workers, roughly 600 people this year, down from 1,000 people last year.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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