CAN AZ BREAK JOBLESS STAGNATION?
posted by Michael Chihak
Arizona's unemployment rate has stalled at 8.2 percent for three straight months -- April, May and June.
July numbers will be out Thursday, and they could reveal if the state's economy is tipping toward improvement or sliding back toward recession.
Despite the stagnant unemployment rate -- a complexity of factors including people leaving the job market -- the state has shown job growth consistently since the bottom of the recession in April 2010. That month, Arizona's unemployment rate was 10.6 percent.
The rate has declined almost steadily since then, save for a stall at the 9.6-percent mark from March through July 2011.
Arizona's unemployment rate, while at the bottom worse than the national rate, has caught up with it and has run a parallel trend. U.S. unemployment was flat at 8.2 percent in April, may and June, rising to 8.3 percent last month.
It will be important to watch not only what the unemployment rate for Arizona was in July but for where the job growth came. Is construction continuing its rebound? The bellwether tourism and retail staying strong?
Following release of the numbers Thursday, we plan to interview Aruna Murthy, research economist for the state Office of Employment and Population Statistics, for her analysis of the data.