By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment remained unchanged at 5.0 percent in December and January, according to a report published last week by the Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics.
The national rate rose from 4.7 percent in December to 4.8 in January.
The state had a net loss of 56,700 non-farm jobs in January. Most losses were in Trade, Transportation and Utilities, with 18,000. Losses were posted in each of the 11 sectors tracked.
Construction saw job losses at 1,400, but the sector had an overall year-over-year net gain of 4,000. Total statewide Construction jobs for the year-to-date stand at 132,600.
Benchmarking Leads to Revision
Every year before publishing the January numbers, the Current Employment Statistics program revises its previous estimates by incorporating data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, primarily the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
Due to this benchmarking comparison, employment figures from April 2015-September 2016 have been updated, and estimates from October-December 2016 have been replaced with new estimates. As a result, the overall employment numbers for the state were revised downward for 2015 and upward for 2016.
This trend was reversed for the Construction sector, which was revised upward for 2015 and downward for 2016.
Numbers Around the State
The Construction sector features three major segments: Buildings, Heavy, and Specialty Trades. There are currently 26,300 jobs in Buildings, up 200 from December and 1,800 from last January. Heavy Construction lost 300 from December for a total of 15,500, down 100 from last year. Specialty Trades lost 1,300 over the month to 90,800, but the segment posted an increase of 2,300 over the year.
Construction jobs in the Phoenix Metro Area (Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale) dropped 1,000 over the month, for a total of 103,700. The January 2016 number was 100,400.
Construction jobs in Metro Tucson dropped 200 to 14,600.
Yuma, Flagstaff, Prescott, Lake Havasu City-Kingman, and Sierra Vista-Douglas combine Construction and Natural Resources jobs in reporting their job sector totals. Yuma was unchanged at 2,200, as was Prescott at 4,700. Flagstaff dropped 100 to 2,200. Lake Havasu-Kingman fell 100 to 2,300, and Sierra Vista-Douglas at was unchanged at 1,300.