Phoenix, AZ – On one hand, retail employment went up by 2,000 over November.
But that's to be expected this time of year as merchants hire
seasonal help. The better indicator is the fact that overall
retail employment in Arizona last month was 15,000 less than a
year earlier. Aruna Murthi, the director of economic analysis for
the Department of Commerce, said that is not surprising.
(We are experiencing a recession that we have never seen before.
So it was way deeper than any of the past recession.)
The same factors are in place in the tourism industry where total
hotel employment was down by 800 between November and December --
and off by 2,300 from a year earlier.
(The number of people traveling to Arizona has declined. People
are spending less. All data suggest they are spending less,
saving more. The number of visitors to restaurants and dining,
all these have gone down.)
And the state's construction industry lost another 2,300 jobs,
bringing employment in that sector in December down to 131,800.
But there are some bright spots, notably the state's aerospace
industry which continues to add jobs. The consensus is much of
that is related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the
continued need for helicopters, missiles, drones and the spare
parts to keep them flying. For Arizona Public Radio this is