EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Local businesses are already gearing up for the holiday shopping season, amid dismal labor trends.

Tens of thousands of seasonal workers are needed now in our area, but finding and hiring enough of them appears bleak, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.

Holiday hiring is in full swing. Corlissa Isaac is an East Meadow grandmother who decided to answer the desperate call for seasonal workers as a holiday cashier at Stew Leonard’s.

“My family is very annoyed that I am out of the house working because they want me to run around for them, but this is for me,” Isaac said.

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Across the U.S., the plight is the same. Businesses are handling the busiest months of the year without the workers they need.

“People are shopping early and there just seems to be such a hard time trying to find people who want to work. I don’t know where everybody is, but we are here if people would like to find a part-time job,” said Debbie Imperatore of Funky Monkey Toys & Books.

With signs in its window, Funky Monkey Toys & Books in Greenvale is recruiting at colleges, using social media, offering wage increases, store discounts, and other incentives.

“It’s definitely a job seeker’s market. Remote positions are really in high demand,” said Robert Graber, CEO of Long Island Temps Staffing Agency.

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Health concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant and continued disruptions to global supply chains mean more competition for a limited supply of workers willing to take in-person jobs.

  • Target plans to hire 100,000 for the holiday season
  • Amazon is recruiting 1,500 in New York City and on Long Island
  • Stop & Shop needs 1,000 permanent workers in the Tri-State Area
  • Walmart has 150,000 seasonal, nationwide openings
  • Stew Leonard’s is looking for 400 holiday workers on Long Island

It appears Stew’s pay hike is working.

“We did raise our minimum to start at $16 until the end of the year because we know we have to be competitive with every other retailer out there,” said Amy Arriaga of Stew Leonard’s in East Meadow.

Stew’s offers flexible hours, too.

Isaac wondered if she had the skills.

“Hopefully, they’ll keep me,” she said with a laugh.

“Seasonal hiring is definitely more about attitude over aptitude,” Graber added.

If you want to learn on the job, part time can become full time.

Jennifer McLogan