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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County labor market makes ‘very solid’ gains

It has added 5,900 jobs in 12 months through August

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian Port & Economy Reporter
Published: September 22, 2015, 5:06pm

Clark County’s labor market experienced “very solid” job gains in the 12 months through August, the region’s labor economist said Tuesday, and the unemployment rate continued to drop — from 7.5 percent a year ago to a preliminary 6.2 percent.

“Things look good,” Scott Bailey, regional labor economist for the state Employment Security Department, said in a phone interview, noting the addition of 5,900 jobs since August 2014. As part of that growth in payrolls, the county added 200 jobs — adjusted for seasonal factors — from July to August.

The year-over-year increase in jobs translates to an annualized growth rate of 4.1 percent for Clark County. It’s a growth rate that surpasses the nation’s (2.1 percent) and tops those of Washington and Oregon (3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.) The Portland metro area’s rate of job growth barely edged out Clark County’s, clocking in at 4.3 percent.

As the region’s labor market has added jobs, the unemployment rate has gradually come down. The county recorded a preliminary unemployment rate of 6.2 percent in August. That compares with a 7.5 percent jobless rate in August 2014.

In Clark County, the three major industries for generating jobs, over the year, were: trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,100 jobs), professional and business services (up 700 positions) and education and health services (up 600 jobs.)

Other sectors making advances were construction and mining (revised upwards to 1,000 jobs added), financial services (up 700 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (up 700 positions.)

Manufacturing “remained solid,” Bailey wrote in his report, adding a net 400 jobs “despite the loss of 400 in transportation equipment over the year.” Altogether, nearly every major employment sector in Clark County was “once again up over the year,” according to Bailey, although information services was unchanged.

Meanwhile, Bailey said claims for unemployment insurance remained “at very low levels.” Clark County’s labor market report for September, including payroll and unemployment figures, is slated for release Oct. 20.

Columbian Port & Economy Reporter