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Vancouver, Wash. economy bounces back

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

During the 2001 recession, Clark County’s economy stalled out. Six hundred high-wage jobs disappeared when an aluminum smelter closed, and the county lost 2,000 electronics jobs, more than a third of the industry. But beginning in early 2003, employment growth came roaring back, with hiring expanding almost 4% annually over the past three years. Construction has boomed here as elsewhere, though homebuilding has kept a sustainable pace. A new hospital, Legacy Salmon Creek, boosted payrolls, and even manufacturing has bounced back, with 700 jobs, or 5%, added this year. Every major sector has grown, with the exception of government. Downtown Vancouver is in the midst of a remarkable turnaround, with a new hotel/convention center, new commercial building, as well as condominiums. Two new developments should add to the mix over the next few years: the redevelopment of the old Boise Cascade waterfront site and an artists’ center in a rebuilt barracks on Officers Row. Clark County remains intertwined with the greater Portland area — one out of three residents works in Portland and about a third of consumer spending takes place on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

— Scott Bailey, regional economist
Washington Employment Security Department

Clark County employment by industry

Industry April 2006 Jobs Change over the year Growth

Education and health services 17,200 1,600 10.30%
Financial services 7,000 500 7.70%
Information 3,000 200 7.10%
Construction, mining and logging 12,400 700 6.00%
Manufacturing 14,000 700 5.30%
Leisure and hospitality 12,500 400 3.30%
Trade, transportation and utilities 23,800 700 3.00%
Professional and business services 14,500 400 2.80%
Other services 4,300 100 2.40%
Government 22,700 -300 -1.30%

Total 131,400 5,000 4.00%

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