Clark County added a net 800 jobs in the 12 months through June

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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Clark County’s job market showed no signs of speeding up in June, the region’s labor economist reported Tuesday. However, “at least it was moving in the right direction,” wrote Scott Bailey, in his “Southwest Washington Labor Market News” report, as seasonal hiring in construction and manufacturing — among other sectors — fattened payrolls by 600 jobs from May to June.

The year-over-year numbers, however, underscored the slowness of the area’s labor market. Dragged down by layoffs in the public sector, Clark County’s economy added a net 800 jobs in the 12 months through June — an annualized growth rate of merely 0.6 percent.

The situation left the county with a preliminary unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in June. But that jobless rate is expected to be revised upward to roughly 11 percent to account for unemployed Clark County residents who previously worked in Oregon.

That’s what happened to May’s unemployment rate, which was revamped from an initial 9.4 percent to 11.2 percent.

On the bright side: May’s revised jobless rate was nearly two points lower than the 13.1 percent recorded in May 2011. “Most of the drop was due to an increase in employment,” according to Bailey, “but a small portion was a result of workers dropping out of the labor market.”