It was just a year ago that managers at some retailers were having to scramble to find enough holiday workers.
This year, they're turning people away in droves.
Only one person out of every 45 who apply is being hired by department store operator Bealls Outlet Stores.
A California 7-Eleven store received more than 100 applications in a week and a half, for jobs that pay $8.50 an hour.
Who are these jobseekers? They're not the teens or stay-at-home moms who are usually looking to make some extra cash around the holidays. This time, there are a lot of people who have been laid off in other sectors of the economy, and are desperate for a way to pay the bills.
But they're applying for work in an industry that itself is drastically cutting back on holiday hiring because of the drop-off in consumer spending.
A Michigan woman -- who was laid off along with her husband from an automotive industry job -- has been applying for part-time jobs at Toys 'R' Us, Home Depot and Lowes. Kimberly Caparo says she thought it would be "pretty easy" -- but, in her words, "there are thousands of us going for the same thing."