Pierce and Thurston counties have largely recovered from the recession, though Pierce at a slower pace, a regional labor economist told the annual economic symposium Thursday in Olympia.
Scott Bailey, an economist with the state Employment Security Department, said Pierce County has 5 percent more jobs than in early 2008, while Thurston County has nearly matched the state average at 7.3 percent more jobs than before the recession.
Nationwide there are 4.5 percent more jobs now than before the downturn, Bailey said.
Job totals in many rural counties, including Clallam and Jefferson, still have not recovered. In those two counties, Bailey said, wages also have stagnated for the past decade.
“They are still in the recession,” Bailey said.
For instance, Wahkiakum County, along the Columbia River northwest of Portland, has 18.4 percent fewer jobs than in early 2008, before the recession took hold, he said.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Research declared the recession ended in June 2009 and lasted for 18 months.
Rural counties in Washington state are not alone. A study released in January by the National Association of Counties said 93 percent of counties across the nation have not fully recovered from the recession, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report looked to see whether unemployment rates, total employment, home values and the size of the economy had reached pre-recession levels by the end of 2015.