The state’s jobless rate jumped a tenth of a point last month, to 7 percent. But, as Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports, there’s one really bright spot in the economy.
That spot is health care. It added 1,500 jobs between June and July — and more than 10,000 in the last year alone. Economist Aruna Murthy said the biggest increases were in employment in doctor’s offices, clinics and other ambulatory care centers. She said that may be no surprise, citing a recent Gallup survey which found that since the Affordable Care Act took effect this year the percentage of Arizonans without health insurance has dropped from 20.4 percent to 17.2 percent now.
“Essentially what that’s telling us is at the number of insured people increase we anticipate continued increase in the demand for ambulatory services. In fact, these outpatient services and physicians and things that I spoke about, the demand for those will certainly increase,” Murthy said.
At the other extreme the state’s beleaguered construction industry which lost another 1,100 jobs last month and now is 6,200 below the same time a year earlier. Murthy said it remains to be seen whether the increase in new housing starts eventually turns that picture around.