The job market in Clark County is slowly returning to normal.
In February, the county gained 500 jobs after a seasonally adjusted basis, and it gained an overall 1,300 jobs, according to the Employment Security Department. More than half of the monthly increase was from K-12 education, which was up 700 jobs.
“Things got better,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington. “It was the third month in a row of good employment gains. It’s starting to come back to where it was pre-COVID. We’ll get there sooner than later when we get enough people vaccinated.”
Compared with February 2020, the last month before the pandemic hit, the county is down about 8,900 jobs overall. About 2,200 are from K-12 education, and about 4,200 are from hospitality and food services.
Clark County is faring better than the state and nation with the percentage of jobs lost over the year: The county lost 5.4 percent of its jobs, Washington lost 6.1 percent, Oregon lost 7.8 percent, the Portland metro area lost 7.7 percent and the U.S. lost 6.2 percent.
The official unemployment rate in Clark County was 6.5 percent in February; a year ago, it was 4.9 percent. But Bailey said the county’s unemployment rate is likely higher based on the large number of unemployment insurance claims.
Will Campbell: email@example.com; 360-735-4507; twitter.com/wtcampbell