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.
Retail sales last month were $4.05 billion. On paper, that's $100 million less than the same month a year earlier. But the Department of Revenue reports that the June 2011 figures were skewed to the tune of about $280 million because of how certain sales were classified. When that figure is backed out, the year-over-year growth is about 4.5 percent. Economist Dennis Hoffman of Arizona State University said that's not bad.