Arizona’s unemployment rate climbed last month as less than half of the industry sectors reported job gains.
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The state’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent last month, up from 3.4 percent for the previous month, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security.
In the Valley, which includes Maricopa and Pinal counties, the jobless rate increased to 3.1 percent from 2.9 percent.
Arizona’s economy lost 18,800 non-farm jobs in July, slightly less than seasonally expected.
“Actually it was pretty good growth for July,” said Don Wehbey, the DES’s senior economist. “If you were to look over the three months of what we expect for seasonally related layoffs, it was a pretty good month. We actually saw construction come back on ... so there’s some continuing vitality still in that industry despite what some of the questionable, variable rate mortgage lending publicity has been of late.”
Five major industries reported employment gains in July, including:
* Trade, transportation and utilities, up 1,800.
* Financial activities, up 1,000.
* Construction, up 900.
* Natural resources and mining, up 300.
* Information, up 100.
Several other industries lost jobs, including:
* Government, down 13,100, mostly from education.
* Leisure and hospitality, down 6,300.
* Educational and health services, down 2,100.
* Other services, down 900.
* Professional and business services, down 500.
Manufacturing was flat as a gain of 200 jobs in durable goods offset a loss of 200 jobs in non-durable goods.
Consumer spending remained strong as evidenced by growth in retail employment, up 1,300, Wehbey said. And while tourism employment dropped, it should start climbing again next month as fall approaches, he said.
Gas prices have been dropping, and this should help the economy if the trend continues, Wehbey said.
“The high rates ... really pull a lot of money from people who would otherwise spend their money in other areas of the economy, or invest and save it,” he said.