PHOENIX, Ariz. - For the month of February, the Arizona and the U.S. unemployment rates remained unchanged at 8.7 percent and 8.3 percent respectively and have been gradually declining over the past 24 months, according to a report released last week by the Arizona Department of Administration Office of Employment and Population Statistics. Arizona gained 27,900 non-farm jobs in February, the largest February job gain since 2007. The private sector gained 13,500 jobs while government gained 14,400 jobs. Seven of the 11 major sectors gained jobs, one sector was flat, and three sectors lost jobs.
Government accounted for over half the job gains, mostly from seasonal gains in state (1,700) and local (12,800) public education. The private sector gains were dominated by gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (7,100), which had above average employment gains. The professional and business services sector had employment gains (5,700) that were near pre-recession averages. Educational and health services gained 2,300 jobs, other services gained 1,100 jobs and manufacturing gained 1,000 jobs. Health care and social assistance gains were near average while private educational service gains were below average. Manufacturing gains were above average. Trade, transportation, and utilities had greater-than-average seasonal losses of 2,900 jobs, mostly in retail trade.
Over the year, total non-farm jobs increased by 42,600, the second largest increase since Arizona began gaining jobs after the recession. Leisure and hospitality had its largest over-the-year increase since December 2006. The gains in professional and business services over the year were the largest since May 2007. Overall, the employment situation in Arizona continues to gradually improve, and some industries are starting to see some increase in momentum.
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