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Shindigz’s themed party doubles as job fair

– It is the season for seasonal hiring.

Shindigz Party Central, 101 E. Carroll Road in South Whitley, announced Thursday it is gearing up for a Mardi Gras-themed hiring event Tuesday for 15 pre-selected candidates as the online party goods supplier seeks to fill up to 200 jobs. Proms, graduations and other celebrations make the next few months a key hiring period.

Other interested applicants are asked to go to www.shindigz.com. So far, the company has hired 35 workers, said Kris Wurst, director of human resources.

Shindigz is just one of the businesses to announce seasonal hiring plans, based on an uptick in demand that comes in the spring.

Last year, Shindigz invested $1.7 million on improvements and said it intended to hire 250 to 300 seasonal warehouse employees. Shindigz improved equipment, facilities and Internet infrastructure while hiring computer programmers, Web designers, graphic designers and social media specialists.

Most of the seasonal hires were let go in a few months, but Shindigz retained 35 to 40 workers.

The company would not disclose hourly pay for seasonal help in the January-through-May period, but last year said full-time workers make up to $11 an hour.

“We’re learning to be much leaner and efficient,” Wurst said. “I will be looking for people February, March and April.”

Last month, Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc. said it was hiring 70,000 seasonal workers for the spring. As the weather warms, do-it-yourselfers around the country take on various home projects.

A spokesman for Menards on Thursday said “no final hiring decisions have been made.”

Local economy analyst John Stafford said spring hiring suggests optimism.

“From the company perspective, they expect to see improved consumer confidence,” said Stafford, director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW. “I’m sure they do their market research.”

Seasonal hiring is one reason Stafford’s office tracks “seasonally adjusted” jobless rates. The data provide a clearer picture of what’s going on.

The state doesn’t release seasonally adjusted rates for the Fort Wayne metro area, which consists of Allen, Whitley and Wells counties.

Unemployment for the metro area was 8.5 percent in December. The adjusted rate was 8.9 percent.

“We take a shot at it every month,” he said. “That way, we get a pretty good indication of how things are going.”

pwyche@jg.net

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