Holiday Hiring

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With the economy improving, many U.S. retailers are doing more than taking on extra help for the holidays; they're hoping to keep the new hires after the holidays are over.

Across much of the nation, holiday business is expected to be stronger than it was in 2002. Analysts are predicting an average sales increase of four to five-percent over last year.

Part of the reason for the expected rise is that last year's West Coast dock worker strike hurt sales as retailers couldn't get merchandise on the shelves. But in general, sales are going up because consumers are spending more.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is hiring about the same amount of holiday help as last year, some 14,000 people.

Electronics are expected to do particularly well during the holidays, so Circuit City recently took on 12,000 workers.