State Capitol News
2:00 am
Thu October 16, 2008

AZ unemployment increases again

Phoenix, AZ – The state's jobless rate took another jump last month and now
hovers close to 6 percent. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer
reports.

That new figure of 5.9 percent is three-tenths of a point higher
than August -- and up from just 3.8 percent a year earlier. There
were a whole set of reasons for that. One of the biggest is the
loss of another 4,000 construction jobs. Total construction
employment in Arizona is now down 25 percent from its peak in
June 2006. More unexpected was the month-over-month loss of 4,400
retail jobs at a time of year when stores normally add staff.
Department of Commerce economists blame that on a combination of
factors, ranging from the credit crunch and commodity prices to
falling consumer confidence. Of some note is that the increase in
Arizona's jobless rate came even as the national figure remained
steady at 6.1 percent. The agency's Frank Curtis said that
reflects just how bad it is here.

(Arizona has been hit harder than most of the other states in the
nation by the housing downturn. And we're still seeing the
effects of that.)

One bright spot is that employment in both education and health
care continues to increase, a reflection of the growing number of
young people and the elderly in the state.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.