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Changing the available resources in local health care markets may help drastically to improve overall health in spite of health care service shortages, according to a report by the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization.
PHOENIX -- Two new reports Tuesday show some bumps in the state's recovery from the recession.
One finds that Arizona consumers are spending more, at least in certain areas. But not a lot. The other shows that, for the first time in three years, Arizona is not among the Top 10 states in job growth.
Reports from retailers, released Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue, put total taxable sales at $4.47 billion. That figure comes from reports filed last month which actually reflect sales made in August. That is up 5.2 percent from the same time a year earlier.
But economist Dennis Hoffman from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said it's hardly a number to cheer about.
"It's OK,'' he said. "It's not gangbusters.''
He said a state such as Arizona should be showing year-over-year growth in the 7 percent range.
The numbers represent more than just an academic exercise.
Close to half of the state budget is built on taxable retail sales. And when these figures lag, so do state revenues -- and the ability of lawmakers to meet the spending demands.
In fact, the staff of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which advises state lawmakers, is predicting that, for the entire fiscal year, retail sales will grow just an anemic 3.7 percent.
The job-growth figures come from a separate study by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU.
There are signs the state is making some progress at recovery.
Sales at motor-vehicle dealers hit $719.9 million in August. That's 8 percent higher than the same time a year earlier. But it's still far below the $833.8 million figure for August 2005, even with vehicles now costing more than they did back then.
Sales of furniture and other home furnishings increased just 3.1 percent from 2013 and also remain below pre-recession levels. Purchases of clothing and accessories actually dropped by nearly 1.6 percent year over year.
Hoffman said the really shocking number is in the category of residential construction. Total sales there for August tallied $285.5 million. In August 2004, the same category posted $604.7 million in sales. "And that was before the real ratchet-up that we had,'' Hoffman said, with the real estate bubble reaching its peak in 2006 before it burst.
That lack of home construction is reflected in the separate employment report by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU. He said that so far this year, the state's already beleaguered construction industry has lost jobs. That sector of the Arizona economy remains at half of what it was before the recession. Manufacturing employment also has shed jobs so far this year.
He did find some bright spots.
For example, for the first nine months of the year, only two states hired a greater percentage of new workers in the health-care field than Arizona. And Arizona is No. 5 for jobs in the financial sector. But that was not enough for Arizona to maintain its Top 10 status of job growth.
McPheters puts year-to-date job growth at just 14th in the nation. And when government jobs are removed from the picture, the state drops to 15th.
"And it appears that unless something very unusual happens, we're going to end up this year as not a Top 10 growth state,'' he said. "That's just one other disappointment to go along with the fact that the economy is losing construction jobs.''
McPheters said the state will likely add no more than 55,000 jobs this year, about the same as last year.
"So that means we're kind of in a three-year period where the economy appears to have plateaued and we're just waiting for something to happen to either spur population growth or get some other sectors to drive the economy,'' he said.
Hoffman said, though, that the sales figures may not be as bad as they seem -- if not from the perspective of state revenues, then at least in terms of the strength of the economy: The numbers reported by retailers to the Department of Revenue obviously do not reflect some purchases made by consumers online or by phone.
Online retailers who have a physical presence in Arizona, like Target.com or Walmart.com, are required to collect the state sales tax. But those based solely elsewhere do not.
Arizona law technically requires buyers to report these purchases and pay an equivalent "use tax'' to the state. But with no real enforcement mechanism for the average consumer, that law goes largely ignored.
September reported taxable sales in billions of dollars
(Reflects August sales)
2004 -- $3.51
2005 -- $4.22
2006 -- $4.44
2007 -- $4.27
2008 -- $4.02
2009 -- $3.53
2010 -- $3.45
2011 -- $3.75
2012 -- $3.87
2013 -- $4.25
2014 -- $4.47
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Key elements of taxable sales
Element / Amount in millions of dollars / Year-over-year change
Motor vehicle dealers / $719.9 / 8%
Furniture and home furnishings / $274.3 / 3.1%
Building materials, lawn & garden / $270.7 / 2.3%
Taxable food and liquor / $288.3 / 1%
Miscellaneous retail / $684.1 / 10.3%
Clothing and accessories / $235.4 / (-1.6%)
Bar and restaurant sales / $896.3 / 7.1%
Hotel and motel rentals / $157.7 / 14.9%
Residential construction / $285.5 / 9.2%
Nonresidential construction / $192.2 / (-6.4%)
Heavy construction (roads, bridges) / $65.6 / (-4.9%)
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Private sector job growth, first 9 months of 2014
Rank / State / Number of jobs added / Growth percentage
1 / North Dakota / 19,590 / 5.4%
2 / Nevada / 41,270 / 4.1%
3 / Texas / 329,780 / 3.5%
4 / Florida / 221,520 / 3.4%
5 / Utah / 34,660 / 3.3%
6 / Oregon/ 42,280 / 3.1%
7 / Colorado / 59,510 / 3.0%
8 / Delaware / 9,980 / 2.8%
9 / California / 327,890 / 2.6%
10 / Georgia / 83,970 / 2.5%
11 / North Carolina / 83,000 / 2.5%
12 / Tennessee / 57,690 / 2.5%
13 / Washington / 59,790 / 2.5%
14 / Arizona / 49,630 / 2.4%
15 / Oklahoma / 29,400 / 2.3%
-- Source: W.P. Care School of Business, Arizona State University
Two new reports Tuesday show some bumps in the state's recovery from the recession.
Walmart is set to hire 60,000 employees to compensate for the upcoming holiday season.
Oro Valley Police Deptartment
A large-scale scam involving people claiming to represent the IRS through unsolicited phone calls has cost citizens across the country, including Arizona, millions of dollars over the last six months.
Gilbert High School offensive coordinator and ex-NFL quarterback Max Hall has lost his position with the Tigers amid accusations he possessed cocaine and shoplifted items from two stores in the East Valley during the Labor Day weekend.
BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. (AP) — An 8-year-old girl reported missing from her Arizona home was strangled to death, authorities said Friday as they continued to investigate the case.
The Mohave County medical examiner released the manner of death for Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella on Friday. The cause of death was asphyxiation.
Police found Isabella's body in a shallow grave near her Bullhead City home Wednesday, a day after her family reported her missing.
Isabella was discovered wearing the same green, ruffled, sparkly tank top she had on when she was last seen. However, authorities said she didn't have any clothing on her lower half and they are looking into whether she was the victim of sexual assault.
Justin Rector, a 26-year-old Bullhead City man with a lengthy criminal history, was charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in her death. Authorities described him as a family friend who was staying at Isabella's home at the time she disappeared. He is being held without bond.
Meanwhile, teachers and administrators at the schools Isabella attended remembered her as friendly, loving, obedient, beautiful and inquisitive.
Diamondback Elementary School Principal Martin Muecke told the Mohave Daily News that Isabella paid close attention to detail when crafting sentences. Her second-grade teacher, Kaycee Larson, said Isabella's favorite subjects were English, language arts and writing.
Desert Valley Elementary School Principal Cynthia Cochran said it's unfortunate others won't get to know Isabella.
"I think anyone who has children or who works with children is devastated by this tragedy," Cochran told the newspaper in Bullhead City, which is on the Arizona-Nevada border about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
Police said they aren't ruling out additional charges or arrests in their investigation into Isabella's disappearance and death.
According to court records, Isabella's mother was not home at the time her daughter went missing. She and others went to Wal-Mart, and she told Isabella and her 10-year-old sister to lie down in bed and watch a movie. The mother of her boyfriend was home with the children, court records state.
Bullhead City Police Chief Brian Williamson said Thursday that the state Department of Child Safety is involved but did not elaborate.
Wayne Whitlock of Glendale, your ‘Wayne’s World’ is apparently not the same world the rest of us have to live in, I’m thinking. Here are a couple things you probably should take a moment to ponder upon:
(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories about “snowbirds” in the Valley of the Sun).
You can almost smell it like a monsoon in the distance. It might not be on the horizon just yet, but there is something in the air that lets us know football season is almost upon us.
BidOnFusion will have an auction in Mesa with more than 20 truckloads of goods valued at more than $2 million.
Two suspects are in custody after hiding from police in a Tempe Walmart.
Starbucks is rolling out a program that would allow its workers to earn an online college degree at Arizona State University at a steeply discounted rate.
Life as an ex-felon is more difficult than most understand. There are very few places that will hire us or rent to us. We go from place to place paying application fees just to be turned down. Most employers will not hire ex-felons and the ones that say they do, I found that to be just a statement. I am no sex offender and have not committed a crime in six years, but everyone from Wal-Mart to McDonald’s refuses to hire me. Put yourself in our shoes? Yes, we have paid our debt to society, but society still holds it against us.
Mesa police are asking for the public's help locating a couple suspected of stealing baby formula from two East Valley stores.
Mesa police say they've completed an operation resulting in numerous arrests and the recovery of hundreds of guns as well as thousands of stolen items.
Sam Walton and his heirs are, by all accounts, some of the richest people in America and for that matter in the world. So saying, “Sam you’re the man” is not an understatement. As we all know, (unless you’ve been living under a rock), he is the founder of Walmart and the worth of the Walton family is in the billions.
Standing your ground has become synonymous with immunity to prosecution in people’s eyes. I’m not sure where this misconception started but it should be addressed.
An off-duty Chandler police officer was killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday afternoon, says authorities.
The state House voted Thursday to put a five-year lifetime cap on government-funded health – but not for everyone.
The chaos and concern can be heard on the 911 calls.