State expects holiday hiring to jump in area

Up 84%: Seasonal job growth far ahead of rest of state, Employment Security says

rboone@theolympian.comOctober 25, 2012 

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    Some regional holiday hiring projections for October through December 2012/2011

     • Olympia area: Up 84.6 percent to 672 jobs from 364 jobs.

     • Tacoma area: Up 2.71 percent to 1,286 jobs from 1,252 jobs.

     • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett: Up 10.9 percent to 9,133 jobs from 8,234 jobs.

     • Bremerton area: Up 7.07 percent to 469 jobs from 438 jobs.

     • Bellingham area: Down 14.5 percent to 407 jobs from 476 jobs.

    Source: Employment Security Department

Olympia-area holiday hiring is expected to nearly double from last year, outperforming statewide projections and other nearby communities, the state Employment Security Department announced Wednesday.

Holiday hiring here is forecast to grow to 672 jobs between October and December from 364 last year, the data show. Statewide, though, the holiday hiring forecast isn’t as strong, with overall hiring totals expected to fall to 13,300 jobs from 14,000 jobs.

The Tacoma area, for example, is expected to show only minor improvement in its holiday hiring, growing to 1,286 jobs from 1,252 jobs last year. Holiday hiring in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area is expected to grow to 9,133 jobs from 8,234 jobs last year.

Holiday hiring got an early start in Olympia when several retailers at Westfield Capital mall gathered to hold a two-day hiring event.

About 155 job seekers attended, resulting in 55 hires, said Gary Mersereau, Thurston County WorkSource supervisor. About 200 people also applied for jobs at T.J. Maxx, a new retailer at the mall, resulting in 73 hires, he said.

The current hiring and projected hiring should reverse the unemployment picture for Thurston County.

County unemployment numbers, which were released this week, fell to 7.4 percent in September from 8 percent in August, but 900 jobs were still lost in the period.

Jobs tied to the beginning of the school year and the holidays should be reflected in the October and November jobless data, regional economist Jim Vleming told The Olympian on Tuesday.

Those looking for holiday work can go to a new website created by Employment Security called Holiday Job Marketplace at www.wa.gov/esd/holidayjobs. No Olympia-area jobs have been posted to the site just yet, so check the site for periodic updates, Mersereau said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone

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