This year's retail season is expected to be a little chilly for holiday hiring compared to last year.
Economists with the Washington State Employment Security Department say retailers are beginning to ramp up holiday hiring, but that this year's increase will likely match or fall slightly below last year's numbers, according to an announcement.
An estimated 13,000 jobs are expected to be added at retailers across the state from now through December. Most of those will take place in November, they say. The estimate is down 1,700 from last year's holiday hiring.
"Seasonal work often can be a gateway back into the workforce for the unemployed," said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause in the announcement. "However, the uncertainty that retailers are feeling will make that less of an option this year."
Specific projections were provided for the state's metropolitan areas, which does not include Walla Walla. Regional labor economist Arum Kone said it would be difficult to estimate local numbers because they'd be lumped together with all of the surrounding rural areas.
As might be expected, the most jobs are anticipated for the Seattle/Belleve/Everett area, where 8,513 jobs are expected to be added. That figure is down from last year's 9,022 jobs.
Nevertheless, state officials say "big box" stores will lead holiday hiring with an expected 7,000 jobs.
That figure's up slightly from last year. The decrease comes from clothing and clothing/accessory stores, which are expected to hire fewer than 3,300 people.
That figure is down more than 1,000 from the 2010 holiday season. Other retail categories will grow by 3,500 workers across the state. That's about 500 more than a year ago.
To learn more about local holiday hiring, visit WorkSource Walla Walla or check out go2worksource.com.
Think you have what it takes to be a trooper?
Those interested in a career as a Washington State Patrol trooper can learn more about the job by following the organization on Twitter at @troopercareer.
The feed is intended to help find qualified applicants, according to an announcement from the state patrol.
Tweets will include updates about the training that cadets experience at the State Patrol Academy.
Trooper Pete Stock will provide information on Twitter, as well as Facebook and the WSP's website.
Details will include the daily tasks required of a trooper.
Stock will provide information on upcoming job events, cadet testing dates and the application process.
More information is also available through the hash tag #joinWSP on Twitter. Those interested in joining the state patrol can contact Stock directly at email@example.com or at 360-239-4904.
Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8321.