Business

Want extra cash for the holidays? Whatcom retailers expected to hire more this season

A shopper heads into a J.C. Penney store, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Seattle. Seasonal hiring for the holidays is expected to jump more than 20 percent this year, including in Whatcom County.
A shopper heads into a J.C. Penney store, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Seattle. Seasonal hiring for the holidays is expected to jump more than 20 percent this year, including in Whatcom County. AP

With the economy humming along, expect an uptick in seasonal holiday jobs this year in Whatcom County, state officials say.

In its annual holiday hiring forecast, the state’s Employment Security Department is predicting Whatcom County retailers will hire 291 people for the final three months of the year. That’s a 22 percent jump from 2017, when 238 were hired for the seasonal work.

That increase is in line with much of the rest of the state. Seasonal hiring in Washington is expected to increase 21 percent this year.

Employment Security Department economists expect much of the seasonal hiring to happen in big-box stores. Reasons for the optimism includes high consumer confidence and low unemployment, leading to extra spending.

The holiday season is important not just to retailers, but for the state budget. The retail industry in Washington generated a record $155.3 billion in taxable retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, providing 51 percent of the state’s operating budget.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz
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