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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County employers add 1,200 jobs in October

Schools, retail lead the way as nearly every sector shows growth

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 24, 2023, 6:05am

Clark County employers added 1,200 jobs in October, with the latest labor report showing year-over-year growth in virtually every sector of the economy.

“After a relatively slow September, Clark County employment had a smashing pumpkin of an October,” said consulting economist Scott Bailey, who recently retired as the state’s labor economist for Southwest Washington. Only 200 jobs, seasonally adjusted, were added in September, according to data from the Washington Employment Security Department.

“Gains were widespread at the industry level,” Bailey added. Employment in every sector of the economy now exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

Fall traditionally sees big employment increases in education. This year was no different. The county saw 900 K-12 school jobs come online in October and another 100 in private education services.

Retailers added 300 more jobs in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

After a busy summer, arts, entertainment and recreation lost 400 jobs, something Bailey called normal.

“Other changes at the industry level were small and generally positive,” Bailey said.

Over the past 12 months, employment in the county has grown by 3.9 percent. Only one sector has lost jobs — corporate offices.

Arts, entertainment and recreation; private education; business services; professional services; construction, mining and logging; accommodation and food services; information services; health care and social assistance; other services and local government have all grown faster than the average.

Real estate, rental and leasing; federal government; K-12 education; transportation services; retail trade; and finance and insurance have grown at or below average. Wholesale trade and state government haven’t lost or added any jobs.

Bailey’s latest analysis shows that Clark County has added 18,600 jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Bailey pointed out the county’s job growth has outpaced the broader U.S., Washington, Oregon, the Portland metro area and the Seattle metro area.

“It was also better than any labor market in the state,” Bailey said.

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