Arizona unemployment rate remains at 8.2 percent in May

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Arizona's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was unchanged at 8.2 percent, according to information released last week by the Arizona Department of Administration Office of Employment and Population Statistics. The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent in May.

The Arizona rate had been greater than the U.S. rate since June 2008 but is now the same as the national rate. While the private sector posted above average gains, public education had well above average seasonal losses. Seven major sectors gained jobs, one was flat, and three sectors lost jobs, which resulted in a net loss of 8,100 total non-farm jobs for the month of May. The sectors that had job gains for the month had above average gains while the sectors that lost jobs had greater than average losses.

The top sectors that gained jobs over the month were trade, transportation, and utilities (3,700), construction (2,900), educational and health services (2,000), and leisure and hospitality (1,300). Government had the most losses (-14,800), primarily in local (-12,300) and state (-3,500) public education. Many of the additional losses in public education that occurred in May are more typically seen in June. Gains in other non-education government agencies offset some of the losses. Professional and business services (-4,200) reported greater than average seasonal losses after posting greater than average gains earlier in the year.

Over the year, 41,600 non-farm jobs were added (or 1.7 percent). Eight sectors gained jobs, two sectors lost jobs, and one sector was flat. Construction (10,200) had the largest number of job gains but is still at 1995 employment levels. Educational and health services and leisure and hospitality had the next largest gains with both sectors adding 9,900 jobs each. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 9,800 jobs, and professional and business services 8,400 jobs. Over-the-year job growth in Arizona has been gradually improving. The average rate in 2009 was -7.3 percent, the average in 2010 was -1.9 percent, the average in 2011 was 1.0 percent, and so far in 2012 the average rate is 1.8 percent.

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