UPDATE Unemployment rate likely unchanged despite some job gains

first_imgClark County employers have added a net 900 jobs in the past 12 months, a small climb that likely left September’s unemployment rate at roughly 12 percent, Scott Bailey, regional labor economist for the state Employment Security Department, reported on Tuesday.Professional and business services employers have added 1,000 jobs since September 2010, more than any other sector, while the leisure and hospitality industry shed 600 jobs.“Staffing agency employment has been trending up over the past few months, an encouraging sign,” Bailey wrote in his “Southwest Washington Labor Market News” report.Health care continues to be a major source of new jobs, adding 700 in Clark County in the past year.However, the construction sector, just like leisure and hospitality, has lost 600 jobs since September 2010.“Construction is still looking for a bottom,” Bailey said in a phone interview.‘A worrisome picture’The earliest realistic time line for the county’s economy to return to pre-recession employment levels is five years, according to an analysis by Bailey, and even then the odds aren’t good.To recover by 2016 and drive down the unemployment rate to 5 percent, the county’s job growth would have to average 4 percent a year, or 5,300 jobs annually. The county would have to create roughly 442 jobs per month to recover by 2016.There are no signs that such rapid growth is on the horizon, especially in light of the nation’s feeble recovery and of the European debt crisis.last_img

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