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County jobs shrink slightly


The Washington State Employement Security Department (ESD) yesterday issued its latest report on employment figures for the state, the Gorge, and Klickitat County.

According to preliminary estimates, Washington had a huge month in June, adding 9,100 jobs. Hiring was concentrated in the service sector: wholesale trade, retail trade, private education services, leisure and hospitality. Over-the-year growth increased yet again, to 2.8 percent. The big news was the announcement of job cuts at Microsoft, and Boeing issued a layoff notice as well. Unemployment held at 6.1 percent for the third straight month.

Total nonfarm employment in the Columbia Gorge has shown little change in the past year. The preliminary estimate for June—29,630 jobs—was 25 jobs below last June’s count. There have been changes at the industry level, however. Most sectors have added jobs at a decent pace, including construction (+60 jobs, 5 percent growth over the year), manufacturing (+70, 2 percent), trade & transportation (+70, 1 percent), and education & health services (+60, 1 percent). Two sectors have held back job growth: professional & business services (-150, -6 percent) and government (-125, -2 percent). These sectoral differences translate into geographic differences as well; the Oregon side of the river has shown modest employment growth, while Klickitat and Skamania have lost jobs, the former due mostly to professional & business services, the latter to government. Seasonally-adjusted employment was unchanged in June. Unadjusted employment rose by 585 jobs. Most of these seasonal hires were in leisure & hospitality (+300), government (+100) and manufacturing (+70). The unemployment rate was estimated at 5.6 percent, which translates to 5.9 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Both were about a point and a half lower than a year ago. The number of employed residents has changed very little, while the number of unemployed has fallen substantially.

Klickitat County employment has been close to 5,600 jobs for over two years, but has been trending slightly downward for a little more than a year. June brought little change in the labor Market. Nonfarm employment rose by 110 jobs, a typical number for the month. Seasonal hiring in construction and leisure and hospitality accounted for all of the net new jobs. Over the year, employment has dropped by 110 jobs, including 100 in professional & business services. The county unemployment rate was estimated at 6.0 percent, almost three points lower than the 8.7 percent from a year earlier. An estimated 610 county residents were officially unemployed. Both initial and continued unemployment claims remained at low levels.


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