Another 1,300 jobs were created in Clark County in October, according to the most recent estimates from the Washington Employment Security Department.
Non-farm employment was estimated at 185,500 jobs, continuing the growth streak for the county’s job market, which is bouncing back much stronger since the pandemic began. Since February 2020, the county’s job count has increased by 7.8 percent. The county is outperforming the nation (up 0.5 percent), the state (up 1.5 percent), Oregon (up 0.3 percent), the Seattle metro area (up 0.5 percent) and the Portland metro area (up 1.2 percent).
The construction sector added 100 more jobs in October in Clark County, which is better than usual. Retail also added 300 more jobs, mostly in general merchandise sales, according to the Employment Security Department. Professional and business services gained 200 more jobs, and so did health care and educational services.
The job gains dropped the unemployment rate to about 3.8 percent. Last October, the local unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent.
“Clark County’s labor market, like the U.S. soccer team, is performing at a high level, beating expectations,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington, referring to the U.S. men’s team’s World Cup performance. “Clark County’s labor market continued to shine.”
Bailey said that in some ways, the strong job growth is similar to the pre-COVID era growth.
“Clark (County) was the fastest from 2007 to 2019 as well,” he said, and there are “good fundamentals around skilled, educated workforce, above-average incomes and decent infrastructure. Suburban counties almost always have a faster growth rate than central cities (Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane).”