Arizona unemployment rate flat in May

June 14, 2012

Arizona’s unemployment in May was flat, staying at 8.2 percent. The private sector added more jobs than normal last month, while the public sector lost more than usual. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.

MARK BRODIE: Many of the new jobs in May were in retail. But, construction also added close to 3,000 positions. That’s the third straight month the industry has gained more jobs than average. Construction also had the biggest gains between last May and this one. But, Economist Rick Van Sickle with the state Department of Administration says the industry’s employment is still at 1995 levels.

RICK VAN SICKLE: Even though it’s had the best over the year gains, it’s because it was down so far, it’s got a long way to go to return to the peak.

BRODIE: Van Sickel says most of the public sector losses were due to schools starting their summer breaks early. Since Arizona’s unemployment rate has been below nine percent for three straight months, it’ll lose the last 16 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits.

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