Phoenix, AZ – A new report today shows the state's jobless rate remained
virtually unchanged for the second month in a row. But that doesn't necessarily
mean the economy is stabilizing.
The 9.1 percent unemployment figure for September is the same as
it was in August. And it's actually a tenth of a point less than
July. But Lisa Danka of the state Department of Commerce said
that doesn't show the whole picture.
"Arizona's unemployment situation saw weak seasonal gain of
10,600 jobs in September. This is the smallest over-the-month
seasonal gain that we've seen since 1990."
In fact, when you take out the anticipated seasonal increase in
employment of staff at public schools, the rest of the economy
actually was weaker. Construction employment shed another 900
jobs in September, bringing the year-over-year losses to 45,800.
Another 2,700 jobs were lost in retail trade, half of that in
food and beverage stores. And hotels and restaurants laid off
2,300 workers between August and September.
"We know that folks are not traveling as they did two years ago.
And it's probably related to the fact that tourism is down, not
just in Arizona but around the country."
And even though education employment did increase between August
and September, the economy is taking its toll there, too. There
are 5,700 fewer employees in public schools now than a year ago,
with a drop of 2,900 in the university system.