Clark County employment chills in October with 100 jobs lost

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer



Clark County shed 100 jobs in October, a slight blemish on an otherwise healthy regional economy.

According to Scott Bailey, regional economist for the Employment Security Department, it’s not unusual for the county to rise and fall month to month. For example, Clark County lost jobs in August and then gained some again in September.

“We have these months every now and then, and then we kick in with a big gain,” he said of the Tuesday jobs report.

The unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted, still fell by one-tenth of a percent to 4.4 percent. It’s the sixth consecutive month Clark County has posted an unemployment rate below 5 percent.

Bailey added that the unemployment rate fell despite the loss of 100 jobs because they are measured somewhat differently. As far as gauges of economic health go, Bailey said, unemployment rates aren’t as useful as job growth, but they are similar.

“Over a longer period of time, they tend to coincide pretty closely,” Bailey said.

Without adjusting for seasonal trends, Clark County lost 1,200 jobs in October. That drop was led mainly by leisure and hospitality, which Bailey said is tied to the hiring trend of a specific company that he couldn’t disclose for privacy reasons.

Still, the leisure and hospitality sector is up 500 jobs compared with the previous October.

As in previous months, Clark County’s job growth for the year continues to impress. About 7,300 jobs have been added this year, good for 4.7 percent growth. Job growth has been 1.4 percent nationwide, 3.2 percent in Washington, 2.3 percent in Oregon and 2.4 percent in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area.