Arizona sees highest April employment growth in years - East Valley Tribune: Business

Arizona sees highest April employment growth in years

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Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:00 am

Arizona added 19,500 jobs last month, making it one of the best Aprils for employment growth in years.

The jump was led largely by a strong showing in the state's leisure and hospitality industry which hired an additional 5,000 people over March. And there was a fairly sharp increase in the number of temporary employees who got work in April.

Even the state's troubled construction industry managed to post a modest gain of 2,200 workers.

But overall construction employment is still 19,800 below what it was a year earlier, and 134,700 below the peak in June 2006.

Rick Van Sickle, a labor market analyst for the Arizona Department of Commerce, said there are other signs of recovery in the data.

For example, the number of people employed in Arizona in April is still 38,200 less than a year earlier.

But Van Sickle pointed out that difference is just 1.6 percent. By contrast, that year-over-year drop was in the 8 percent range last summer.

At some point later this year -- he isn't willing to predict when -- the annual change rate should hit zero.

The numbers translated out to a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.5 percent for April, down a tenth of a point from March. A year earlier it was 9 percent.

The Phoenix metro area posted a 0.1 percentage point increase, to 8.9 percent, with the jobless rate in Pima County up by two-tenths of a point to 8.8 percent.

One possible indication of future good times is that the number of people working in the employment services industry is up by 5,500 between March and April.

Van Sickle said most of these are employees of temporary help agencies. He said many employers, when they see business improving, first hire temporary help until they are sure that the trend will stick.

None of this, he said, necessarily means the recession is at or nearing an end.

First of all, Van Sickle noted that official determination is made by the National Bureau of Economic Research based on a whole variety of indicators. And it usually isn't until months or more after the recession has ended that the agency will declare that, in fact, it was over months earlier.

But Van Sickle said even the end of the recession -- whenever that happens -- won't translate into lower unemployment. He said statistics from prior recessions show that hiring usually doesn't start in earnest until sometime later.

"There's a lot of individual people represented by all these job losses,'' he said, citing the Arizona figures. "Their personal recession is going to continue for a long time.''

Job losses are only part of the picture.

"There's a lot of people who had to take pay cuts,'' Van Sickle said.

"So they could come out and say 'the recession's ended,' but personal recessions will continue for a long time,'' he said. "On top of the fact they've lost their jobs. there's a lot of people who had to take pay cuts.''

Van Sickle said the recession is a "technical term that doesn't necessarily apply to individual personal economies.''

Arizona added 19,500 jobs last month, making it one of the best Aprils for employment growth in years.

The jump was led largely by a strong showing in the state's leisure and hospitality industry which hired an additional 5,000 people over March. And there was a fairly sharp increase in the number of temporary employees who got work in April.

Even the state's troubled construction industry managed to post a modest gain of 2,200 workers.

But overall construction employment is still 19,800 below what it was a year earlier, and 134,700 below the peak in June 2006.

Rick Van Sickle, a labor market analyst for the Arizona Department of Commerce, said there are other signs of recovery in the data.

For example, the number of people employed in Arizona in April is still 38,200 less than a year earlier.

But Van Sickle pointed out that difference is just 1.6 percent. By contrast, that year-over-year drop was in the 8 percent range last summer.

At some point later this year - he isn't willing to predict when - the annual change rate should hit zero.

The numbers translated out to a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.5 percent for April, down a tenth of a point from March. A year earlier it was 9 percent.

The Phoenix metro area posted a 0.1 percentage point increase, to 8.9 percent, with the jobless rate in Pima County up by two-tenths of a point to 8.8 percent.

 

Area Apr-10 Mar-10 Apr-09
Arizona 9.50% 9.60% 9.00%
United States 9.90% 9.70% 8.90%
       
Phoenix metro 8.90% 8.80% 8.30%
       
Apache 16.90% 16.40% 14.70%
Cochise 8.00% 7.90% 7.40%
Coconino 9.40% 9.00% 7.30%
Gila 11.10% 10.90% 10.60%
Graham 13.20% 14.30% 14.80%
Greenlee 12.60% 12.70% 17.30%
La Paz 9.10% 9.10% 9.50%
Maricopa 8.80% 8.70% 8.10%
Mohave 10.80% 10.80% 10.90%
Navajo 16.20% 15.40% 14.50%
Pima 8.80% 8.60% 8.20%
Pinal 11.90% 11.70% 11.40%
Santa Cruz 18.70% 17.50% 16.00%
Yavapai 9.90% 9.60% 9.60%
Yuma 26.30% 27.20% 23.10%
       
Source: Arizona Department of Commerce      
       
       
       
       
Sector employment in 1,000s      
Sector Apr-10       At its peak
       
Total nonfarm 2419.8 2713.6  
       
Manufacturing 147.1 187.1  
Natural resources & mining 10.9 14.3  
Construction 112.8 247.5  
Trade 481.2 549.2  
Information 37.9 55.6  
Financial activities 161.9 187.2  
Professional & business services 344.1 408.7  
Education & health services 336.9 323.2**  
Leisure & hospitality 266.9 279.1  
Other services 91.9 102  
Government (including public education) 428.2 449  
       
* Different sectors have different peak dates      
** Prior peak in October 2008      
       
Source: Arizona Department of Commerce      
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

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