October in Clark County brought enough of an increase in the workforce to break the record for the highest number of workers, but population growth is a major factor and many are still unemployed.
Seasonally adjusted, Clark County added 700 jobs last month, according to the Employment Security Department. Employment was up 400 jobs or 0.3 percent, above its pre-COVID peak, according to Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington.
“Technically, since (Clark County) has likely had population growth of 1 percent or more over the past year and a half, more jobs would be required to reach parity, but let’s just call this a win,” Bailey wrote in a report published Tuesday.
Without expected seasonal changes, the number of jobs increased by 1,000; K-12 education gained 700 jobs and private education gained 200 jobs. Retailers also added 200 jobs for the upcoming retail holiday season.
With quarterly updates to the preliminary labor market statistics, September’s employment numbers increase by 3,200 jobs. The industry of “accommodations and food services” that includes restaurants and hotels gained 1,000 of the jobs adjustment in September. K-12 education increased by 900 and business services increased by 500.
“The leaves may have been falling in October, but the sun continued to shine in the labor market,” Bailey wrote in an email.
Clark County’s unemployment rate was about 4 percent — more than two percentage points lower than last year’s October rate at 6.3 percent. About 9,900 workers in the county are still unemployed; last year, about 16,000 workers were without work.