Nonfarm job growth across Arizona is expected to slow through 2008, yet remain ahead of the national economy, the Arizona Department of Economic Security projects in its latest employment forecast.
Through 2008, the state is expected to add more than 180,000 nonfarm jobs, including more than 167,000 in service-providing industries.
More than 13,000 of the jobs are expected in goods-producing industries.
“We’re still seeing that overall our economy has enough momentum to still outpace the national economy,” said Don Wehbey, the DES’s senior economist.
“The opportunities are still going to be there for continued growth.”
The forecast would be stronger if it weren’t for outside forces, such as higher fuel costs taking money from consumers and businesses, and international conflict creating apprehension among employers, Wehbey said.
“A year ago, the oil companies basically shot prices up, they brought us to record highs and then they were showing profits greater than $30 billion each,” he said. “That’s money that now isn’t available to further invigorate the economy. And we’re already close to $3 a gallon now.”
Construction, which has been a leader in job growth, is expected to slow from an annual average growth rate of 3 percent this year to 1 percent next year.
The industry should add nearly 10,000 through 2008.
“We know the (construction) business is slowing, but we still continue to add jobs each month,” Wehbey said. “We’re not even suggesting that it’s just all of a sudden going to plummet. We didn’t see it last year and we’re still not seeing it.”
Bob Dufault, vice president of construction at Scottsdalebased Hacienda Homes, said home sales improved slightly in the first quarter, increasing the need for more home building activity.
“Because of the slowdown in the second and third quarters (of 2006), all of the trades cut a lot of manpower, they went to skeleton crews,” he said.
“If we pick up construction, it’s going to be across the board that these guys are going to be looking for people.”
One area of concern is lenders starting to cut back on the number of home loans they approve, Dufault said.
“No one really knows what kind of effect that’s gong to have,” he said.
Professional and business services is projected to add more than 48,000 jobs, while trade, transportation and utilities should add more than 35,000 jobs.
Educational and health services is expected to add more than 26,000 jobs, while leisure and hospitality is forecast to add more than 20,000 jobs.
Financial activities should add nearly 12,000 jobs, while other services is expected to add 10,000 jobs.
“The only industry we’re not seeing continued growth in for the next couple of years is information services (down 1,200), but that’s one industry that’s been consolidating for some time now,” Wehbey said. “All the other industries notably are surely not growing they way they did last year and the year before, but they’re still growing.”