Arizona’s year-over-year employment rate went up slightly but is far below projections made by the state’s Office of Economic Opportunity a year ago. Governor Doug Ducey continued to cling to the notion that it’s a nice place to live in his remarks following the release of the new economic figures.
While the economy continues to improve slightly, it’s not keeping up with population growth in Arizona and people are dropping out of the workforce, discouraged at being unable to find decent jobs. Pima County, for example, had 3400 fewer people in the workforce than one year ago.
Statewide, Arizona added 17,300 jobs in the past year. That compares with an average of 22,800 jobs per year since Obama’s fiscal stimulus in 2009 began to bring the country out of the Great Recession. The stock market may have roared over the last year, but the jobs market hasn’t done so well under President Trump and Gov. Doug Ducey.
Bars and restaurants boosted employment by 5000 over the last year, putting the lie to dire predictions about reduced employment due to the voters’ minimum wage initiative. Travel and leisure remain the strongest sector of the state’s economy.