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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County gains 1,600 jobs in January

Area among fastest growing in state, economist says

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 8, 2023, 6:05am

Clark County’s normally big new-year drop in jobs was less severe than usual, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.

The county added 1,600 jobs in January, according to the department. That number is seasonally adjusted.

Unadjusted employment, meanwhile, decreased by 2,000 jobs.

Generally, employment decreases between December and January, according to regional economist Scott Bailey. Seasonal construction declines, as does retail, leisure and hospitality.

January showed less of a decline than usual, however, Bailey said. Construction, for example, usually loses more than 400 jobs in the new year, but this January lost only 400.

“The typical seasonal layoffs were just less than usual,” Bailey said.

The one exception to that was manufacturing, which dropped by 300 jobs, including 200 in electronics.

Clark County’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in January, according to the latest job numbers from the department. A year ago, it was 5 percent.

“It’s pretty indistinguishable from last year,” Bailey said.

There were 13,448 people unemployed in the county in January, with the county’s total workforce being 254,469. About 11,900 had been unemployed the month prior.

The county has gained a net 14,900 jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. That’s an increase of 8.7 percent.

“We’re still one of the fastest growing counties — if not the fastest — in the state coming out of the pandemic,” Bailey said.

Nearly every industry has recovered with the exception of arts, entertainment and recreation, which is still down 300 jobs, and government, which is down 1,300 jobs.

Washington’s economy, meanwhile, gained an estimated 10,800 jobs in January, based on a seasonally adjusted figure.

Construction, transportation, warehousing and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing saw the biggest gains statewide.

The state’s unemployment rate did increase, however, from 4.2 percent in December to 4.6 percent. The national unemployment rate decreased from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent.

The state’s labor force jumped 20,500, with 4.023 million employed in January compared with December.