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Feb. 5, 2023

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Clark County adds 400 jobs in September

Unemployment rate 3.8%, point lower than year ago

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
Published:

Clark County continued to add jobs in September: Not including seasonal trends, there were 400 more added last month, leaving the unemployment rate at 3.8 percent — more than a point lower than the 4.9 percent from September 2021.

“It was another decent month, one that keeps expanding,” said Scott Bailey, the state Employment Security Department’s regional economist for Southwest Washington.

The report showed no signs of a pending recession, Bailey said. One of the first major indicators may be temp agencies finding businesses unable to hire their workers, but there is no sign of that now.

Retail jobs are down 500 over the year, which reflects a continued inventory issue and a shift in consumer spending habits, partly due to inflation.

“Sales spiked at retail stores during the pandemic and are now coming back down to earth,” Bailey said.

Manufacturing gains

Manufacturing gained 600 jobs over the year, with the biggest gains in electronics, food processing and fabricated metals.

Construction added no new jobs in September, but over a year, the industry has surged with an additional 1,200 jobs. Building permits also show a year of average new builds, compared to the past two years of an increased number of construction projects, Bailey said.

“There was little change in trade, transportation and utilities, information services, or financial services,” according to Bailey. “Professional and business services added 300 jobs, 200 more than the usual seasonal trend, and health care added 500 jobs, mostly in outpatient services and hospitals. Leisure and hospitality payrolls were up 100 jobs, when a loss of that size would be the norm. All other services were unchanged. Public sector staffing rose by 800 jobs, mostly in K-12 and higher education, due to the start of the new school year.”

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