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Despite gloomy unemployment numbers, this is a great time to find a job. Here's where to apply.

Unemployed? Underemployed? Just looking for some extra cash? If so, you just might be in luck.

While economists expect the unemployment rate for September to increase slightly when it comes out on Friday, your odds of finding work are improving, because major retailers have already begun hiring temporary employees for the holiday season.

We’ve compiled a list of who’s hiring and how to apply. These seven stores alone plan to hire about 250,000 employees by December. (Last year, retailers hired 607,500 employees total during the holiday season, reports the National Retail Federation.)

Plus, your temporary job could become a permanent one. Simply Hired, a job search engine company, has advised employers to consider retaining top-performing seasonal employees.

Last year, Toys R Us retained about 15 percent of their holiday hires after the season ended. This year, the company says “high-performing” employees may again be able to turn their temporary job into a permanent one, thanks to “substantial growth opportunities available.”

Midwestern retailer Meijer has said the same: “While most of the seasonal opportunities are part-time, these jobs can provide a gateway to a full-time career at Meijer,” said spokesperson Jenny Hawat. “As we move into a new year, we frequently look to seasonal employees first to fill our on-going part-time and full-time needs.”

But don’t delay. Simply Hired also suggested that employers start hiring early so they’re stocked up on employees when holiday sales ramp up. So the sooner you start applying, the better your odds.

Bloomingdale’s

  • Positions to fill: About 80,000 (That figure includes positions at Macy’s, which is owned by the same parent company. This is an increase of 2,000 from last year.)
  • How to apply: Online

Crate & Barrel

Kohl’s

  • Positions to fill: More than 52,700 (4 percent more than last year), plus about 1,500 “regular” employees at 12 new stores across 10 states.
  • How to apply: Online

Macy’s

  • Positions to fill: About 80,000 (That figure includes positions at Bloomingdale’s – see above.)
  • How to apply: Online

Meijer

  • Positions to fill: 12,000
  • How to apply: Online, or complete an application at the employment kiosks located at the front of most stores.

Toys R Us

  • Positions to fill: 45,000 (5,000 more than last year)
  • How to apply: Online

Walmart

  • Positions to fill: More than 50,000
  • How to apply: Online

Karla Bowsher covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

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