Arizona's Unemployment Rate Takes Record Jump

Phoenix, AZ – The state's jobless rate jumped six-tenths of a point last month
-- something it hasn't done in nearly 30 years. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The new report shows 6.9 percent of Arizonans who wanted work in
December could not get it. That figure was 6.3 percent in
November and 4.2 percent a year earlier. That increase is due to
the continued refusal of most Arizona consumers to spend a lot of
money on anything other than necessities. Retail trade employment
in December, the height of the Christmas shopping season, was up
500 from November. But the number of people working to sell
things this past month was 25,200 less than the same time last
year. Even employment in the food and beverage industry is down.
Dennis Doby of the Department of Commerce said people are still
going out to eat. But he said the evidence is that they're dining
more at places which they believe offer better deals. He said,
though, that hunt for bargains is not limited to food.

(There also are indications that consumers are shopping for
discounts on pretty much everything and being very careful with
their spending and their purchasing at the current time.)

Doby said at the current pace, Arizona unemployment will
definitely hit 8 percent, though he can't predict exactly when.
And what of a possible 9 percent jobless rate?

(If the national rate hits 9 percent we're likely to see that in
Arizona as well.)

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.