Clark County added 5,500 jobs for the yearlong period that ran through February, regional economist Scott Bailey reported Tuesday. For the month, the county’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment rose by 300 jobs.
Those new jobs over the past year translated into a 3.8 percent growth rate. That’s better than the Portland metro area’s 3.3 percent, the 3.1 percent for both Washington and Oregon, and the nation’s 1.9 percent job growth rate, said Bailey, of the state Employment Security Department.
February’s job increase was spread out across nearly every employment sector. Unadjusted nonfarm employment rose by 700 jobs, with leisure and hospitality adding 300 jobs and health care creating 200 jobs. Retail took a downward turn, with retailers cutting 200 positions in post-holiday layoffs.
For the year, nearly all employment sectors showed strong growth. Information services added 300 jobs, a 10 percent increase, followed by financial services, with 600 new jobs representing a 7.9 percent increase.
Other strong sectors were trade, transportation and utilities, up 6 percent; leisure and hospitality, also up 6 percent; construction and mining, 5.9 percent; and professional & business services, 3.4 percent. Government employment grew by 2.5 percent.
Education and health services grew by less than 1 percent, but Bailey noted that the main drag on that employment sector was a loss of 400 jobs for the year in social assistance.
“Part of social assistance is in-home assistance funded through the state Department of Social and Health Services.” he wrote. “The employment numbers for these private households have been very inconsistent, and account for most of the decline.”
Manufacturing employment remained stagnant, with a decline of 100 jobs for the month.
February’s manufacturing employment of 12,900 workers matches the employment level of February 2015.
Unemployment remained at an estimated 6.6 percent, the same as January’s rate and well below February 2015’s 7.3 percent.