Over at OddJobNation.com, there are a couple of different seasonal-job listings you might not have expected, including one for a vote collector for the presidential election in Worcester, Mass. ($50), one for a "real beard" Santa Claus in Delaware, one for a dwarf/little-person talent for a Halloween party in Northern Kentucky ($100) and another for a ski nanny in Steamboat, Colo. ($150 per day).
You might not look to ski nannies and dwarf entertainers as indicators of the health of the economy, but job listings are up 10 to 15 percent at OddJobNation.com, said Jeremy Redleaf, a filmmaker and the founder of the odd-job site.
You know who else is feeling the economy humming again — Lou Nasti, a professional mechanical-display maker who makes giant mechanical Clauses, dancing dolls, bears and other holiday delights in Brooklyn's famously decked-out Dyker Heights neighborhood. He also does some buildings in New York City and some extraordinary projects around the world, including a recent Halloween display for the King of Morocco. Typical professional holiday decorators get paid $50 to $100 per house, but in Dyker Heights, it's not uncommon for homeowners to spend $20,000.
Given the global nature of his business, Nasti said he's stayed busy through the recession. He did notice that many people in the U.S. didn't want to be extravagant during the hard times — but that's changing.
"People get laid off, the last thing you want to do is go into a building and see elaborate Christmas displays," Nasti said. "But it's changed. We're back."
Nasti has seven full-time carpenters/mechanical builders year-round, and for the holidays, hires about 10 more to help with moving and lifting the massive mechanical displays. They unload trucks, bring displays into the buildings, etc.
Nasti said for him, it's not just a seasonal business — his team works year-round, starting with Toy Fair in New York in February.
"For us, Christmas starts in February!" Nasti said.