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Over-The-Year Job Growth Turns Positive in Douglas County
by Brian Rooney
Published Nov-19-2012

After roughly two years of drifting lower following the "Great Recession," Douglas County's over-the-year employment trend has turned positive. September 2012 was the third month in a row with positive over-the-year employment growth and the first time since December 2006, before the recession, that more than one consecutive month was positive.

Estimates show that employment grew by 370 jobs or 1.1 percent between September 2011 and September 2012, which followed over-the-year gains of 420 and 650 in July and August.

Like the national economy, as Douglas County's labor market improved, the job growth occurred in the private sector while the public sector lost jobs. In September, the private sector had over-the-year job growth of 570 while government dropped 200 since September 2011.

In the private goods producing sector, mining and logging added 40 jobs, largely due to demand for raw logs from China. Manufacturing grew by 240 jobs, largely from a gain of 190 in wood product manufacturing where prices for both lumber and panels rose earlier this year. Other durable goods manufacturing added the remaining 50 jobs over the year. Construction has been stable compared with recent years, losing 10 jobs.

In the private service producing sector, retail grew 70 over the year. Professional and business services, which is largely temporary firms and call centers, was the sector with the most growth, adding 320 jobs. There were small losses in wholesale trade (-20), financial activities (-30) and private education and health services (-50).

All major levels of government dropped over the year with federal government losing 50, state government losing 30 and local government dropping 120. Within local government the largest loss was in local education, at 140, while noneducation local government dropped 30. These losses were countered somewhat by a gain of 50 in tribal employment.

Graph 1
Douglas County employment change September 2011 to September 2012