Hiring in Clark County appeared to be slowing in December, according to preliminary estimates from the Washington Employment Security Department. It was the same situation in each of Southwest Washington’s counties.
“All three counties remain in relatively good shape, with strong job growth over the year and low unemployment,” said regional economist Scott Bailey in his monthly update.
The county’s unemployment rate remained steady at an estimated 4.6 percent, the same as it was in November.
Approximately 11,900 Clark County residents were unemployed last month, 17 percent above the 10,200 estimated to be unemployed a year ago.
The county added 500 nonfarm jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis; unadjusted employment declined by 100 jobs over the month. The total estimated employment was 186,100.
The only industries that saw much change from November were professional services, which added 200 jobs, and health care, which lost 200.
From the previous year’s end, total employment was up 8,600 jobs, a 4.8 percent increase. Those industries seeing faster than average growth were arts, entertainment and recreation; health care and social services; professional services; private education services; finance and insurance; information services; other services; construction, mining and logging; business services; accommodations and food services and wholesale trade.
Industries seeing slower than average growth were transportation services, state government, local government (except education) and manufacturing. Those that have seen no change or jobs lost in the last year were corporate offices; K-12 public education; retail trade; real estate, rental and leasing and federal government.
The county has gained 14,800 jobs since the onset of the pandemic, an 8.7 percent increase. That increase is still higher than the employment increases at the national and state levels, as well as those levels in Oregon, the Seattle metro area and the Portland metro area.
According to the employment department, the figure was also better than any other labor market in the state.
Nearly every industry has recovered from the pandemic, according to the employment department. The exceptions are arts, entertainment and recreation, which is still down 300 jobs, and government, which is down 1,300.