Business Blog

Border traffic into Whatcom tracking close to 2013 level

The latest southbound border traffic data indicates Canadians are coming into Whatcom County at a slightly slower pace than 2013.

The number of people that went southbound through the five Whatcom County border crossing totaled 4.7 million through the first four months of 2014. That's down from 4.8 million during the same period in 2013, according to data collected by Western Washington University's Center for Economic and Business Research.

While down compared to 2013, it is up slightly compared to 2012, when 4.5 million traveled south during that same period.

The Canadian dollar strengthened to around parity several years ago and has steadily remained at around 95 cents compared to the U.S. dollar. In January the loonie weakened to about 90 cents compared to the U.S. dollar. It is currently at 92 cents.

The strength of the Canadian dollar has an impact on Whatcom County retailers and the tourism business. First quarter retail sales, which are expected to be released in July by the state, will give further insight on whether cross-border shopping has also slowed.