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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County added 700 jobs in March

Unemployment rate 4.8%; construction, transportation grow

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 27, 2023, 5:45pm

Clark County added 700 jobs in March, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.

The county’s job outlook continues to be positive, regional economist Scott Bailey said.

Last month’s gains, which were for nonfarm jobs, were seasonally adjusted.

Construction, manufacturing, transportation, professional services and government all added jobs beyond what they usually bring in, Bailey said. The unadjusted increase was 1,300.

“March is usually a positive month,” Bailey said, noting hiring was particularly strong last month, with 700 jobs more than the usual employment increase.

“The economy continued to grow and unemployment went down,” Bailey said.

In all, there were 185,800 people employed in Clark County last month.

Over the month, construction, accommodations and food services, and K-12 education all added 200 positions, while several others gained half that. Only one industry, business services, which encompasses temp agencies, landscaping, janitorial work, security services, mailbox businesses and credit unions, among others, saw a dip in employment.

Looking at the data for the past 12 months, the employment department reported no major sectors have lost jobs. Total employment has, in fact, risen by 6,400 jobs, or 3.6 percent.

Those industries that have grown faster than average were arts, entertainment and recreation; professional services; federal government; private education services; information services; wholesale trade; finance and insurance; health care and social assistance; and other services.

The ones growing slower than average included construction, mining and logging; accommodations and food service; real estate, rental and leasing; local government; corporate offices; transportation services; business services; K-12 public education; and retail trade.

Manufacturing and state government didn’t see any significant job change in the past 12 months.

The county’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in March, which was about the same as March 2022. About 12,400 people were unemployed last month, according to the employment department, which is 3 percent higher than last year. But, Bailey pointed out, there were also more people joining the local labor market. That’s why the unemployment rate fell from February.

The state’s unemployment rate for March was 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in March of last year and down from the 4.6 percent seen in February. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

The county’s post-pandemic job recovery is still easily beating the nation, the state, Oregon, the Seattle metro area and the Portland metro area, as well as nearly every other labor market in Washington, except for Adams County.

The only industries that still haven’t fully recovered locally are arts, entertainment and recreation, and government.