November employment numbers

Cowlitz County’s job market continues to stagnate, with the unemployment rate nearly unchanged from a year ago, according to a new report from the state Employment Security Department.

The jobless rate fell slightly to 6.9 percent in November, compared to 7 percent the same month last year and 7.2 percent in October.

Last month, there were about 38,900 jobs in the county after adjusting for an error in state recording, said Scott Bailey, regional economist with the state Employment Security Department. That’s down from about 39,000 jobs in October and unchanged from November 2015.

“It would be nice to get a little oomph and pizzazz going, but not this month,” Bailey said.

Month-to-month changes in the job market include 300 new jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Retailers added about 100 new jobs, likely in preparation for the holiday shopping season, Bailey noted.

“It’s not a huge bump up, but it’s a bit of bump,” Bailey noted.

Manufacturing and non-published services each fell by 200 jobs in November. (Non-published services include information services, finance and professional and business services). The leisure and hospitality and state government sectors each shed about 100 jobs.

Over the year, the number of jobs in the county has stayed about the same. The local government sector and the social assistance and health care sector each gained 300 jobs respectively. Retail trade and leisure and hospitality gained 100 jobs each. There were also 100 new jobs added across the mining, logging and construction industries (all three are grouped together in the report). However, those gains were offset by losses in manufacturing (300 jobs down) and non-published services (down by 600 jobs).

In November, there were about 3,180 people in the county jobless and looking for work, about 50 more than a year ago.

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