Phoenix, AZ – The new rate is 9.6 percent. The last time it was that high was
August of 1983. Aruna Murthy of the state Department of Commerce
pointed out the state's construction industry lost 2,300 jobs
between February and March, more than wiping out the modest gains
of a month before.
(Construction industry has had a tremendous amount of loss in the
state. And, in my opinion, it'll take a considerable amount of
time before that particular industry picks up.)
Murthy said there were some bright signs in the report,
particularly in the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars
added 4,800 workers between February and March. And total
employment in these businesses actually exceeded last year's
level by 600. Murthy credited a strong spring training season for
the boost. Retail trade employment also picked up new workers.
Murthy said it may be that Arizonans may finally be ready to
start opening up their wallets.
(Across both nationally as well as here in Arizona retail trade
as well as wholesale trade numbers have been going up. That's an
indication that they are slowly they may not be at the numbers
we'd like to, but they are slowly beginning to spend.)
Overall, though, the number of people working last month is still
315,000 less than at the state's peak in December 2007. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.