Sep 19, 2022 - News

Arizona's near record-low unemployment is increasing

Reproduced from Arizona Commerce Authority. Chart: Axios Visuals

Unemployment in Arizona increased for the second time in three months, though total joblessness is still near a historic low.

Driving the news: Arizona's unemployment rate rose from 3.3% to 3.5% in August, according to the monthly jobs report from the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA).

  • Nationally, the unemployment rate jumped to 3.7% from 3.5% in August.
  • Arizona's 3.2% unemployment rate in June was the lowest since at least 1976.

Yes, but: Total employment and total jobs both increased in August.

  • Total employment increased by 11,137, while the state added 46,300 non-farm jobs.
  • The majority of those new jobs were in the government sector, largely due to the start of the new school year.
  • People who are out of work between school years don't count toward the unemployment rate because it's seasonally adjusted.

The big picture: Doug Walls, the labor market information director at the ACA's Office of Economic Opportunity, doesn't view the second unemployment rate increase in three months as particularly worrisome.

What they're saying: "I would say, given that the unemployment rate has been at historic lows, to see it increase from those lows isn't necessarily a concern in and of itself. It's definitely something to continue to monitor moving forward," Walls tells Axios.

1 big number: Average hourly earnings in Arizona increased by 6.9% last month, which Walls attributes to a competitive hiring market.

  • The leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services sectors primarily drove that wage growth.
  • That's notably divergent from the national hourly wage, which dipped by 4.4% in August.
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