Weakness in government employment and in several private sectors of the economy pushed Arizona’s unemployment rate upward two-tenths of a percent in June to 9.3%. The state’s unemployment rate for May had been 9.1%. The national unemployment rate for June is slightly lower than the state’s rate at 9.2%.
The Arizona Department of Administration reported seven of eleven sectors gained jobs, but that those gains were offset by losses in four sectors, resulting in a net loss of 57,200 jobs in the state. Arizona lost 49,100 government jobs in June, mostly in local and state education. The leisure and hospitality sector lost 7,300 jobs, and the education and health services sector lost 6,300 jobs. Construction added 3,900 jobs for the biggest sector gain.
The Administration Department has taken over employment-reporting duties previously held by the Department of Economic Security and more recently by the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Aruna Murthy, the agency’s director of economic analysis, said it is common for the state to lose jobs in June. This is partly due to schools letting out, and partly to the state’s winter visitors, known as ‘snowbirds’ going home. However, Murthy said month-over-month loss of more than 57,000 jobs is about fifty percent higher than normally occurs at this time of year.
Despite the decline, Murthy said it is important to focus on the bigger picture. And in this case, she said, that means the fact that 7,300 more people were working last month than a year earlier. “This is our hope here,’’ she said. “We have to look at the over-the-year numbers to actually tell us that thing are getting better, not at the pace we would like and not at the growth we would like,’’ Murthy continued. “But if you compare them to two years ago, they look slightly better now.’’
Murthy did indicate the gains in construction employment over May and June were not indications of new construction, however. Instead she indicated the increases appear to be coming, in part, in the specialty trades, with many of those now employed in the business of doing repairs. “I think that we have reached a point where things need to be fixed,’’ she said. “I think people can’t go beyond a certain point.’’
The construction sector of the Arizona economy still has a long way to go before employment reaches pre-recession levels. With 112,500 people working in construction, the current employment level in that sector is just 45 percent of what it was at its peak in June of 2006.
Murthy also cautioned that there may be further job losses in July, stating that has been the pattern in the past.
Arizona’s Workforce Employment Report for June, 2011
Arizona unemployment rose to 9.3 percent in June
News for June unemployment in Arizona
Unemployment Rates for States
Career One Stop State Locator
The Arizona Unemployment Insurance Program
Legislative and AZUI Contact Information For Arizona Residents and UI Recipients
Veterans Services in Arizona
Disabled Workers Services in Arizona
Mature Workers Services in Arizona
Youth Services in Arizona
Job Seekers Assistance in Arizona
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