State Capitol News
4:23 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Good and Bad News of AZ's Jobless Rates

The state's jobless rate jumped a bit last month. But that may hide some of the good news.

On paper, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 8.3 percent. And the number of people working last month was less than in June. But economist Aruna Murthy of the state Department of Administration said Arizona always loses jobs in July. More to the point, the losses this year were only half as much as what usually happens. What also is significant is this is the fifth month in a row where the year-over-year growth in private sector employment is higher than 2 percent.

"It's trending up," Murthy said. "Ever since somewhere around January 11, then things started improving, it's a real slow growth. But, nevertheless, it is a growth that we are seeing."

That summer job dropoff is tied at least in part to the fact that, well, it's hot in Arizona and the number of people traveling here slows. But Murthy said that she does not believe that the record heat -- and the nationwide publicity about it -- will mean an even sharper decline, at least not in the short term.

"I think people who have made their plans are going to come," Murthy said. "I mean, if you have booked your tickets and booked your hotels already, I don't know if necessarily people cancel them all just because the temperatures are high."

And Murthy said it's not like it's any surprise to travelers that its hot in Arizona in the summer.