Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Clark County’s job growth slowing, still strong

Slower pace than past four years mirrors Portland area

By , Columbian Business Editor

Clark County’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in April, four-tenths of a point higher than a year ago and a tenth of a percentage point lower than March, the state Employment Security Department announced.

Year-over-year overall job growth in the county was up 3,100 jobs, or 1.9 percent.

That’s a slower pace of growth in the county compared with the four previous years, “but still pretty healthy,” said Scott Bailey, the department’s Southwest Region economist. Also, Bailey said, the county’s pace of growth mirrors the slowing of the Portland area overall, “and we’re a part of that.”

Bailey said the slowing in Clark County can’t be attributed to a single job sector or two. While construction employment has slowed, for example, it’s still robust.

“It’s gone from insanely rapid — 10 percent — to just rapid, like 6 percent,” Bailey said, adding that city of Vancouver officials have told him the rate of building permits issued is still strong.

April’s total unadjusted nonfarm employment increased by 200 jobs over the month to 169,500. Leisure and hospitality added 400 jobs, and four other industries inched up by 100 jobs. Education and health services declined by 300 jobs, and manufacturing dipped by 200.

The Southwest Washington region’s monthly jobs update also included a comparison between this April and April 2018 — with data that largely reflected business as usual.

Construction and mining were up more than 1,000 jobs over the past 12 months, a 6.9 percent growth rate. Financial services were up more than 400 jobs, a 4.4 percent growth rate.

Leisure and hospitality added more than 600 jobs, a 3.7 percent increase, while professional and business services added 400 jobs, a 2 percent growth rate.

Less impressive was education and health services, which added a little more than 500 jobs for 1.9 percent growth; trade, transportation and utilities, more than 300 jobs, 1 percent; and government, more than 100 jobs, four-tenths of a percentage point. Two sectors showed losses: Manufacturing dropped more than 200 jobs for a decrease rate of 1.4 percent; and information services declined at a 6.5 percent rate, losing 200 jobs.

Over the year, the estimated number of employed residents was up 3.5 percent.

In a separate report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday that Washington wages in last year’s fourth quarter outpaced the national average.

Washington’s grew at a 6.3 percent rate compared to the overall U.S. 3.2 percent rate. King County’s was the most robust in the state for the quarter at 7 percent. Clark County’s was the fifth highest rate at 5.6 percent.

The average weekly wages for the quarter: $1,144 in the U.S.; $1,292 in Washington; $1,077 in Clark County.

Allan Brettman: 360-735-4699; allan.brettman@columbian.com; twitter.com/allanbrettman

Columbian Business Editor

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