Study: Whatcom retailers to increase holiday hiring

In a possible sign that holiday shopping might be stronger this year, Whatcom County is expected to increase its seasonal hiring.

The Washington State Employment Security Department predicts Whatcom County retailers will hire 393 additional workers to handle the increased shopping in October, November and December. That’s up from 292 who were hired in 2015. Across the state, 12,726 people are expected to be hired for the holiday shopping season, up 20.7 percent compared to a year ago.

Canadian cross-border shopping also has an impact on local holiday sales. The Canadian dollar remains weak, hovering at 76 cents compared to the U.S. dollar. That’s about the same level as last year, so sales to Canadians shouldn’t be much different this year, said Laurie Trautman, director at Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute.