With millions of Americans out of work, many are turning to the holiday jobs market for a paycheck. But Washington state economists predict the number of seasonal hires will likely be less than a year ago.

The state Employment Security Department expects about 13,000 additional retail hires through this year s holiday season, down from nearly 14,000 last year.

The numbers are more encouraging in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area. 9,133 jobs are expected to available this year compared to 8,234 in 2011.

Companies like UPS have already started their hiring blitz, announcing 1,500 jobs will be available for this holiday season.

The great thing about our seasonal work is that it can parlay into more permanent work, said A.J. Nelson, Human Resources manager for UPS in Seattle. Many of those applicants will interview one day then be behind the wheel of a truck the next day.

But Nelson says it s harder this year to find more qualified workers.

It s probably just competition for jobs, and that s a good thing, Nelson said. But we have to hire a lot of people in a short amount of time.

Retailers are not forecasting a record-setting holiday season nationally, but they do expect mild gains from last year.

If you are looking for a holiday job, the state s WorkSource system created a one stop shop for anyone in the marketplace. Visit where job seekers can search for positions by geographic area and job title.

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