Seasonal jobs can be a good way for students to earn money while on break from their studies. But for many adults, including parents and retirees, temporary jobs are a reliable source of much-needed extra income during the holiday season.
Seasonal job seekers will find it a bit easier this year than last to find a part-time gig. Overall, employers are expected to boost hiring by 3 percent compared to last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The key, of course, is finding a job that pays decently and isn't too physically or emotionally demanding.
Using these criteria and more, CareerCast.com recently compiled a list of the Best and Worst Seasonal Jobs, derived from its Jobs Rated reports. Check out the list below and share.
Best Seasonal Jobs Are:
Santa Claus: The star of the season is in high demand. Becoming a Santa Claus stand-in can pay handsomely. One PayScale estimate says top Clauses can earn more than $100 an hour.
Retail Sales Clerk: The National Retail Foundation estimates that retail outlets will add about 600,000 new jobs this holiday season, including at many of the nation's largest retailers. For those looking for permanent retail work, a seasonal job often can lead to a full-time job.
Volunteer: Yes, this is unpaid. But volunteering in a food bank or hospital is good karma -- and can lead to paid positions as, say, a volunteer coordinator.
Package Delivery Workers: The U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx all bolster their employment numbers during peak shipping seasons to meet the demand for prompt package delivery. Last month, FedEx said it planned to hire as many as 20,000 seasonal workers this year, while UPS announced plans to add 55,000 temporary staff.
Food Server: Restaurants welcome an influx of guests during the holidays, which is why more than 45 percent of the part-time positions this season are in food service.
Candy Maker: More than 1.7 billion candy canes are produced annually and consumed almost exclusively during the holiday season. Christmas marks one of the high points in the year for chocolate consumption as well.
Seasonal Jobs To Avoid:
Santa's Elf: As author David Sedaris all-too-hilariously detailed in an essay that debuted on NPR in 1992, directing sometimes frightened children and exhausted parents through the crowds is a much less glamorous gig than being Santa himself. Elves typically earn minimum wage, and competition for the jobs is fierce, especially among high-school students trying to earn money for gifts.
Christmas Tree Lot Attendant: Attendants who staff makeshift Christmas tree lots must endure exposure to wind, rain, snow and cold throughout the workday -- not to mention sticky tree sap from lugging pine trees to customers' cars. A sampling of job postings on Craigslist in the Chicago area showed wages of about $10 to $12 an hour, but most attendants rely on tips to further their earnings.
Airport Helper: Travel during the holiday season to spend time with family leads to long lines and increased anxiety at airports. This makes for a stressful work environment; the pay tends to be minimum wage; the hours definitely aren't standard; and the likelihood of turning the job into full-time employment is very slim.
Taxi Driver: Driving a taxi is a difficult enough job even when the roadways aren't congested and passengers aren't anxious. In fact, this job ranks as one of the nation's most stressful year round, and continues to be a job susceptible to much higher crime rates. Further, the pay isn't stellar. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs is $10.79 an hour, or slightly more than $22,400 a year.