Vancouver, Wash. economy bounces back

{safe_alt_text}During the 2001 recession, Clark County’s economy stalled out. But beginning in early 2003, employment growth came roaring back.


Share this article!

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

IndustryApril 2006 JobsChange over the yearGrowth

Education and health services17,2001,60010.30%
Financial services7,0005007.70%
Construction, mining and logging12,4007006.00%
Leisure and hospitality12,5004003.30%
Trade, transportation and utilities23,8007003.00%
Professional and business services14,5004002.80%
Other services4,3001002.40%