Arizona unemployment figures improve

Phoenix, AZ – The state finally got some really good news today about the
economy. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

New figures from the state Department of Commerce show the
jobless rate dropped four tenths of a point between October and
November, to 8.9 percent. That is the first time since June the
rate has been below 9 percent. But Aruna Murthy, the agency's
director of economic analysis, said she's not ready to declare
that the worst is over.

"I think it's too early to call. We need to have those numbers
observed over a couple of months before we can actually
confidently say that we have hit the bottom or not."

But Murthy said one good sign is that the employment services
sector added about 2,500 jobs in November. These reflect the
those who work for temporary help firms.

"What that's telling me is employers are initially going for
temporary workers to hire the workforce. Down the road they may
change that to permanent or continue to keep them as temporary.
That's hard to say."

Murthy said that number is in some ways a leading economic
indicator: Firms start out by bringing on temporary workers until
they're sure they can support full-time employees. Not all the
economic news about Arizona is positive. The Bureau of Economic
Analysis reported that state personal income -- the total dollar
figure of what everyone in Arizona earns -- declined slightly
between the second and third quarters of this year. Only six
states had larger drops.