Clark County’s economy ended 2017 with an exclamation, adding another 700 jobs when adjusting for seasonal trends.
The figures come from the latest labor report from the state Employment Security Department, released Tuesday.
The report shows the county notched 5 percent unemployment, a mark the county has hit or bettered for eight consecutive months. Regional economist Scott Bailey joked that the constant growth is almost boring at this point.
“Another good month, good unemployment growth spread all over again. Same trend that we’ve been seeing,” he said. “I think this reflects good strength in the national economy, and the global economy isn’t doing too terribly either.”
Without adjusting for seasonal trends, December dampened some sectors and brightened others.
Construction hiring was flat, though that sector usually loses jobs in the cold weather. Retail lost 100 jobs at a time it usually improves. Business services shrank, though that’s not unusual, according to Bailey.
Conversely, jobs at hotels, motels and sit-down restaurants often decrease around this time of year, but there were 100 new jobs in those areas in December. Other big gains came in manufacturing; and trade, transportation and utilities.
The impending reports for January and February are expected to look less than sunny, Bailey said. Retail begins its post-holidays layoffs, and it is the low season for construction.
“In terms of the unadjusted numbers, that’s what will be coming up,” Bailey said. “We’ll see how we compare with the usual trend.”
December’s figures round out an overall strong year. Clark County added 7,800 jobs in 2017, good for 5 percent job growth. The Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area — which lumps Clark and Skamania counties with five Oregon counties — added 33,100 jobs for 2.8 percent growth.
Job growth has been 1.4 percent nationwide, 2.9 percent in Washington and 2.5 percent in Oregon.