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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:37 PM Mon, Dec. 10th

Arizona loses jobs in 10 of 11 areas

But economy still improving, experts say

In this file photo, a "Help Wanted" sign hangs in a store window in New York.

In this file photo, a "Help Wanted" sign hangs in a store window in New York.

Unemployment rates

(Not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.)

Area 01-’16 12-’15 01-’15

Arizona (seas.adj.) 5.6 5.9 6.4%

Arizona 5.3% 5.5% 6.6%

U.S. (seas.adj.) 4.9% 5.0% 5.7%

Apache 12.0% 12.6% 15.3%

Cochise 6.6% 6.6% 8.3%

Coconino 6.6% 6.6% 7.5%

Gila 7.7% 7.7% 8.8%

Graham 6.7% 7.0% 8.1%

Greenlee 8.3% 8.1% 8.1%

La Paz 6.8% 6.9% 8.7%

Maricopa 4.6% 4.7% 5.7%

Mohave 7.3% 7.6% 9.0%

Navajo 9.2% 9.2% 11.3%

Pima 4.9% 5.0% 5.9%

Pinal 5.6% 5.7% 7.0%

Santa Cruz 9.2% 10.2% 11.3%

Yavapai 5.1% 5.0% 6.3%

Yuma 15.7% 18.0% 19.9%

Source: Arizona Department of Administration

Arizona lost 48,600 jobs in January.

And that’s good news.

The reason is that the state normally sheds employment after the Christmas season. But this year’s loss is less than the post-recession average of 51,300.

What that means is the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slid three-tenths of a point, to 5.6 percent. But it still remains higher than the 4.9 percent figure for the rest of the country.

Of those losses, 36,500 were in the private sector. That includes 14,900 in retail trade and another 9,600 in employment services, generally people working for “temp” agencies who get hired on a seasonal basis.

The losses, though, were not limited to those parts of the state’s economy. In fact, 10 of the 11 sectors of the economy lost jobs.

But Doug Walls, research administrator for the state Department of Administration, said the state’s overall long-term employment picture continues to improve.

There were 83,200 more people working in the private sector in January than a year earlier. That is a 3.8 percent annual increase.

Retail trade employment is up 4 percent year over year, with a 5.5 percent boost in people working in the financial sector, everything from selling insurance to making mortgages.

And even bars and restaurants were employing 8,300 more people in January than the prior year.

The latest seasonally adjusted employment hit 2,682,400 in January. That is less than 4,000 below the prior adjusted employment peak of 2,686,300 in December 2007, before the recession.

Arizona lost more than 313,000 jobs during the downturn.