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Friday, December 8, 2023
Dec. 8, 2023

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Clark County labor market adds 600 jobs in August, remains in ‘good shape’

August sees 600 jobs added as sector remains healthy

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

Clark County added 600 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in August as the county’s labor market continued to grow.

There were an estimated 188,200 people employed in the county in August, according to the latest jobs numbers from the Washington Employment Security Department.

Regional economist Scott Bailey said “the labor market continues to be in relatively good shape.”

Three industries — construction, health care, and accommodations and food services — added about 200 jobs. Several other industries saw smaller changes. Retail trade dipped by 300 jobs, while K-12 education saw a decline of 1,000 jobs, which is typical during the summer, according to Bailey.

In the Portland metro area, employers added 2,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in August, following a loss of 1,400 jobs in July, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Since August 2022, Clark County’s total employment was up 6,800 jobs, and only one sector lost jobs.

Nine industries grew faster than the average for all industries: arts, entertainment and recreation; real estate, rental and leasing; federal government; business services; health care and social assistance; professional services; accommodations and food services; local government, excepting education; and private education services.

Eight industries added jobs at or below the average of all industries: construction, mining and logging; K-12 public education; state government; other services; information services; transportation services; finance and insurance; and retail trade.

Wholesale trade, manufacturing and corporate offices saw no change or declined over the past year.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clark County has gained a net 17,000 jobs, an increase of 10 percent — better than any labor market in the state, according to Bailey.

Every sector has fully recovered, save for public education.

The county’s post-pandemic job recovery is still beating the nation, Oregon, Portland metro and Seattle metro.

Its unemployment rate was about 4.2 percent in August, down from 5.1 percent in August of last year. There were an estimated 10,580 unemployed residents, 18 percent lower than the 12,900 from a year earlier.

The Portland metro’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in August, unchanged from July and lower than a year ago when it was 4.1 percent. An estimated 50,900 residents were unemployed, 10,100 less than in August 2022, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

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