State predicts an increase in holiday season hiring

The holidays should be brighter this year for seasonal workers in Washington.

State economists predict increased holiday hiring by retailers this fall and winter, after two years of decline.

Employment Security Department projects 12,726 holiday hires statewide in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 10,542 in 2015.

The same report forecasts 375 hires in Kitsap county this year, up from 333 last year.

General merchandise stores do the bulk of the hiring.

“Healthier wage growth amidst an improving employment situation should help raise holiday sales to a level that boosts hiring,” Turek said in the release.

2016-holiday-hiring

Fourth quarter retail sales surged in the past few years, but seasonal staffing didn’t followed suit.

Turek told me statewide holiday hiring peaked in 2013 at 16,500. Hires dropped to 14,753 in 2014 and plunged to 10,542 in 2015, falling well short of the state’s forecast.

The decline was partially attributed to retailers moving away from brick-and-mortar storefronts to focus on online sales. Downsizing by food stores like Haggen also took a toll, Turek said.

This year, Turek sees fewer stores restructuring and believes improving employment and wages will bolster seasonal hiring.

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