Unemployment Figures Show States Economy Showing Signs of Life

Phoenix, AZ – On paper, the drop in the jobless rate isn't much, just two-
tenths of a point, to 9.5 percent. And Aruna Murthy of the
Department of Commerce noted the figure has been bouncing around
that all year long.

(But I would give significance to the fact that we have 10 out of
11 sectors gaining jobs. We have had more than an average gain in
the number of jobs in each sector.)

Potentially more significant, year-over-year employment was up in
most sectors of the economy. That even includes the state's
beleagured construction industry which posted its first such jobs
gain since December 2006. The good news can't come fast enough.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports the state's gross
domestic product slid by 3.9 percent last year, versus a national
drop of 2.1 percent. And the trend is not good. Arizona's per
capita GDP -- what consumers, businesses, and government spend
on goods and services -- is now 39th in the nation, down from
32nd in 2006. Murthy said that's no surprise.

(The type of industries which we have observed historically in
the past has been leisure and hospitality and other sectors that
haven't necessarily paid very high wages.)

Murthy said changing that trend will require attracting a
different kind of industry to the state. For Arizona Public Radio
this is Howard Fischer.