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