Lessened layoffs and better economy lead to better county growth


There has been a large change in industry employment in Klickitat County: more jobs in manufacturing, fewer in professional and business services.

In January, there were typical seasonal layoffs, resulting in a loss of 150 nonfarm jobs in the county. Construction and manufacturing cut payrolls, as did most of the service sector. For the fifth consecutive month, the layoffs were not as steep as usual—seasonally-adjusted employment increased by 30 jobs.

Total employment in the county was estimated at 5,410 jobs, up 100 jobs (1.9 percent) from a year ago. On the plus side: manufacturing (80 jobs), trade, transportation & utilities (30 jobs) and government (60 jobs). On the down side: construction (-20 jobs), professional & business services (-20 jobs) and education & health services (-40 jobs).

The county unemployment rate was estimated at 8.8 percent, slightly below the 9.0 percent chalked up a year ago. Roughly 800 county residents were looking for work, 10 fewer than a year earlier. Initial and continued unemployment claims continued to be at low levels.

A new year, same trend: Washington and Oregon continue to rank among the top states in job growth over the year. The top 10 states (January 2015 to January 2016): Idaho, Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and California. Also the same: the Pacific Northwest and the western U.S. in general continued to do well compared with the rest of the country. And again: four of the bottom five are oil states, led by North Dakota (-4.4 percent over the year job loss). Statewide reviews: State of Washington Quarterly benchmarking resulted in an upward revision to preliminary job estimates, while annual benchmarking revised the unemployment rate up by half a point.

The state starts the year right with a strong month. January brought another 12,800 jobs to the state. Over-the-year job growth was 93,700 jobs (3.0 percent). Growth remains diversified, with all sectors in the plus column, though manufacturing—buffeted by a weak global economy and a strong dollar—was just barely so.

Unemployment stayed put at 5.8 percent. Three areas have grown rapidly (4.0 percent or higher) in the past year: Skamania at 6.4 percent, Ferry at 5.0 percent and the TriCities at 4.5 percent. Ten counties have grown slowly (with less than 1 percent job growth), including seven that lost employment.


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