Arizona Unemployment Numbers Continue Sliding Under Pandemic Pressure

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 8:32am

The latest jobless report shows more than 1.6 million Arizonans are now collecting jobless benefits as the local economy continues to skid under the fallout of COVID-19.

New figures from the Department of Economic Security show more than 234,089 Arizonans are collecting regular unemployment payments. Another 1.4 million are collecting payments from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, set aside for those who do not qualify for the state's regular benefits.

Filings for first-time unemployment claims jumped by 17%  last week.

"Am I surprised by this? Yeah," said economist Elliott Pollack. "Because I would have thought that the increase in employment that I expected to see this month would have perhaps slowed or stopped the ripple effect. But it hasn't as of yet."

The jobless numbers still fall far below what they were at the height of the mandatory stay-at-home order, when weekly job losses climbed as high as 132,000 people in one week.

Pollack said 682,000 Arizonans have applied for regular unemployment benefits since March 21st, accounting for roughly a quarter of the state's workforce.

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