Arizona and the Valley’s unemployment rates rose more than half a percent last month as the economy’s growth slowed.
The state’s jobless rate increased from 4.1 percent in November to 4.7 percent in December, while the Valley’s rate, which includes Maricopa and Pinal counties, increased from 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent, according to the Arizona Department of Commerce.
The economy added 10,100 nonfarm jobs. Service-providing industries added 12,300 jobs, but 2,200 jobs were lost in the goods-producing industries. Nine of 11 major industries gained jobs and two reported losses. “We’re still getting people coming into Arizona and naturally there are going to be more job-seekers than there are jobs,” said Cheri Levenson, acting manager of economic analysis for the department’s research administration.
The following industries added jobs last month:
• Trade, transportation and utilities, up 7,500 jobs.
• Professional and business services, up 2,400 jobs.
• Educational and health services, up 2,100 jobs.
• Financial activities, up 900 jobs.
• Manufacturing, up 800 jobs.
• Leisure and hospitality, up 400 jobs.
• Other services, up 500 jobs.
• Information, up 100 jobs.
• Natural resources and mining, up 100 jobs.
“Most industries came in below the (seasonally expected) over-the-month gain for December,” said Frances Griego, research administration economist. “The only ones that were on par with the over the year or over the month were educational and health services, and government (down a seasonally expected 1,600 jobs). It’s just a reflection of the slowdown.”
Construction shed 3,100 jobs last month. “You would expect to see losses in specialty trades, those are the first ones to go with the housing market slowdown,” Levenson said. “What you have is existing contracts and then you’re having fewer new contracts, so as those initial contracts end, you’re letting go of people.”