Originally created 12/10/97

Seasonal help easily found



Metro Augusta's high unemployment rate gives area employers an easy time looking for seasonal help, personnel experts said.

"When the unemployment rate is 5 percent and above, recruiting for us is pretty good," said Judy Forester, area manager for the temporary employment firm Manpower.

Augusta's unemployment stood at 5.5 percent in October, down from the 6.9 percent September rate reported by the Georgia Department of Labor.

When the rate drops below 5 percent, most job applicants still available have few job skills and are not attractive to employers, according to Ms. Forester. Published reports from other cities with lower unemployment rates tell of employers offering generous incentives to attract workers.

Students and people with full-time jobs looking to make extra money have kept retailers fully staffed in the Augusta area, according to Sheila Boazman, assistant manager at Kmart. Her store filled 15 to 20 Christmas jobs before Thanksgiving even though hundreds of people have applied since.

Manufacturers are enjoying the same luck.

"We really haven't had a problem with that at all," said Holly Tisdale, human resources director for Fulghum Fibres.

"This is the start of the busiest time for any agency -- or it should be," said Tim Smith, manager of the AppleOne temporary agency. "We have had no trouble."

Pay rates haven't increased in the Augusta area because of the surplus of labor, Mr. Smith said.