If Clark County’s job market were a thermometer, you could say it rose warmly in June but didn’t quite reach the top.
The local economy last month gained 500 new jobs, scattered across a number of industries, according to the latest report from the state Employment Security Department. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent — down one-tenth of a percent from May and three-tenths from June 2017.
“Everything is rolling along,” said regional economist Scott Bailey.
That is a rebound from May, when job growth netted a modest 360 jobs. However, it falls short from June 2017, when Clark County added 1,200 jobs. Bailey said last year the county had welcomed the ilani casino near La Center, which brought more than 1,000 new jobs; and had not yet withstood layoffs at the Georgia-Pacific mill in Camas.
“Considering that we took a hit, it’s a good number,” said regional economist Scott Bailey. The layoffs could still echo in the local economies, however, he added.
“There’s an immediate direct effect for the 300 or so workers that lost their jobs, then there’s indirect impacts with less spending by the mill and less spending by those laid off workers,” Bailey said. “That secondary impact on jobs tends to be much more drawn out.”
Without adjusting for seasonal trends, Clark County added 1,400 new jobs. Job growth was strongest for the construction sector, which added 300 new jobs. The sectors of retail trade and food and accommodations each tacked on 200 new jobs, as well.
Over the last calendar year, Clark County has added about 5,000 jobs — without adjusting for seasonal trends — amounting to 3.1 percent job growth. That growth outpaces the country as a whole, at 1.6 percent; Washington, at 2.5 percent ; Oregon, at 1.8 percent; and the rest of the Vancouver-Portland metro area, at 2.5 percent.