Despite Jobless Rate Drop, Arizona’s Economy Is Still Struggling

Jun 19, 2014

New figures today show the state’s jobless rate dropped a little bit last month. But, Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports that’s hardly sign of a health economy.


The 6.8 percent rate, down a tenth of a point from April, is based on seasonally adjusted figures of the number of people looking for work compared to the number actually employed. And that ratio dropped between April and May. But, economist Aruna Murthy of the state Department of Administration notes that a separate survey of employers shows that the number of people actually working in the private sector last month declined by 800 from the month before. And, she said the declines were in several areas of the economy, including construction and retail trade, with little strong growth elsewhere.

“People are struggling. There are people, I’ve been reading recently stories on young kids are being unable to get out of their family homes, and multiple people living under the same roof because they’re unable to find a full-time job or they’re holding multiple jobs just to pay their bills,” Murthy said.

While some of the job declines were expected, others are no real surprise — including the loss of 1,500 jobs in the state’s leisure and hospitality industry.

“Nobody likes coming to Arizona when the temperature is 110,” she said.

But two sectors of the economy seem to be doing well and added jobs last month: healthcare and financial services.