Fewer newcomers arrive in Clark County in 2011




Compared to 2010, about 10 percent fewer people have traded in out-of-area driver’s licenses in Clark County this year, according to a report released Thursday. Newcomer growth is ordinarily seen as a bellwether of the county’s economic expansion because it indicates new consumers who are likely to buy houses, shop locally and eat at area restaurants.

From January through November, 12,393 people exchanged out-of-county drivers’ licenses for one issued in Clark County, down from 13,905 people in the same 11-month period last year. In November, 789 out-of-county drivers were issued local drivers’ licenses, down 26 percent from the same month last year, according to the Washington state Department of Licensing.

Statewide, newcomer growth has also declined for the year. Washington exchanged 41,403 out-of-area licenses so far this year, down 38 percent from 66,801 licenses swapped in the same 11-month period in 2010.