Clark County is within 0.6 percent of regaining the number of jobs lost when COVID-19 hit and caused a massive wipeout of the economy.
The unemployment rate sat at 4.8 percent, about half of August 2020’s 9.5 percent, but those numbers are due for a revision in the future, so they’re not entirely accurate.
“August was a good month,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington.
Clark County gained about 1,300 jobs last month after being adjusted for seasonal changes. Another similar month, making up 1,100 more jobs, would complete the recovery.
But it’s not the same story for every industry. The accommodations and food services industry, which includes restaurants and hotels, is still down 2,000 jobs, 14.5 percent below pre-COVID employment levels.
“More industries are doing well in terms of being fully recovered,” he said. “More are getting really close. Six industries are only 100 jobs away. It’s really accommodations and food services that are the biggest laggard.”
Bailey said the recovery pattern in August is similar to strong months in the recent past, and the end of federal unemployment insurance benefit programs, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, doesn’t seem to factor into August’s strong gains.
“I just think it’s the recovery,” he said. “I don’t think it had to do with some people expecting federal benefits to run out. There’s been a decline in the number of claimants, but it wasn’t a big decline. Pretty much the same trend we’ve been seeing.”
Eight industries have seen an increase in the number of jobs since the pandemic hit. Those include:
- Professional services (+1,200 jobs, +14.1 percent).
- Transportation services (+200, +4.2 percent).
- Health care and social assistance (+700, +2.8 percent).
- Construction, mining and logging (+200, +1.4 percent).
- Finance and insurance (+100, +1.2 percent).
- K-12 public education (+100, +1.1 percent).
- Retail trade (+200, +1.0 percent).
Seasonal layoffs in K-12 education caused the adjustment for the number of jobs gained in August, and the unadjusted number of jobs came out to about zero. On the other hand, construction gained 300 jobs, manufacturing gained 300 jobs, professional and business services gained 200 jobs and education and health services gained 400 jobs.