The number of employed residents of Clark County decreased in April, according to new estimates that could be revised upward when more accurate data is available in a few months.
Clark County lost about 300 jobs last month after seasonal adjustment. Unadjusted, the county gained 900 for a total of 164,900 jobs. It’s a similar trend to state and national job loss in April.
“It’s slow all over,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington. “It’s pretty typical to see monthly ups and downs as a recovery takes hold. There’s no explanation in terms of an event. It’s the nature of the beast.”
In a few months, the revised jobs report will present a more accurate picture of April; Bailey and the Employment Security Department have been cautious with estimates, so the revised data is tending to trend upward, he said.
Current estimates are that private-sector jobs increased by 400 in April. The accommodations and food services industry and the health care industry both added 200 jobs over the month. Many industries inched up or down by 100 jobs, according to Bailey.
Clark County’s unemployment rate was about 6.4 percent last month, less than half of April 2020’s 14.8 percent, according to Bailey. A year ago, the number of unemployed residents was about 36,400, and that number is now about 15,400.
“I’m watching claims to see what happens,” Bailey said. “There’s been a slow and steady improvement there.”
Weekly unemployment claims
Initial unemployment insurance claims in Clark County last week went back to a “COVID normal” after two previous weeks of a wave of fraudulent claims, none of which were paid, Bailey said.
Initial regular claims dropped from 956 to 559. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance initial claims dropped from 104 to 67. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation initial claims fell from 139 to 101 last week.
“They all dropped by double-digit percentages, back to about where they were three weeks ago,” Bailey said.
Regular continued claims dropped slightly, from 14,063 to 13,906 last week.
“There was a long downward trend starting at the first of the year,” Bailey said. “In late December, (regular continued claims) were at about 17,000. That dropped to just under 14,000, where it’s been now for about five weeks.
“That’s in line with the monthly employment numbers, which didn’t see an improvement. It verifies that April was a slow month in terms of hiring all the way around.”