By Tasha Anderson and Rebekah Morris for AZBEX
Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent in April 2021, from March 2021, according to the latest report published by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.
The national rate increased to 6.1 percent from March. In April 2020, the state had a seasonally adjusted rate of 14.2 percent, and the national was at 14.8 percent.
The state had a net gain of 9,400 non-farm jobs over the month. “Historically (2011-2020), Nonfarm employment has recorded a loss of 22,300 jobs in April,” the report states. Leisure & Hospitality had the largest net gain of 8,300 jobs, followed by Professional & Business Services with 2,600. Construction gained 200 jobs for the month.
Leisure & Hospitality took the top spot in job gains from April 2020 to April 2021 with a total of 98,700, while Natural Resources & Mining took the top spot in job losses over the year with 300. Construction reported a 2,100-job gain over the year.
The Construction sector features three major segments: Buildings, Heavy, and Specialty Trades. There are currently 34,700 jobs in Buildings, which increased by 600 from March 2021 and decreased by 100 from April 2020. Heavy Construction increased by 200 over the month for a total of 20,600 and lost 100 over the year. Specialty Trades lost 600 for the month at 117,200, and the segment gained 2,300 over the year.
Statewide construction employment totals 172.5K jobs. Construction jobs in the Phoenix Metro Area (Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale) gained 400 over the month for a total of 133,500. The April 2020 number was 133,600. The Metro Tucson construction jobs remained at 18,300 from March 2021. The April 2020 number was also 17,300.
Yuma, Flagstaff, Prescott, Lake Havasu City-Kingman and Sierra Vista-Douglas combine Construction and Natural Resources jobs in reporting their job sector totals. Yuma remained the same at 3,600 jobs for the month. Flagstaff, Prescott and Sierra Vista-Douglas all gained 100 jobs for a total of 2,700, 6,900, and 3,600 respectively for the month. Lake Havasu City-Kingman gained 200 over the month for a total of 4,200 jobs.
First Report showing YOY Impact of Pandemic
April 2020 was the first and most severe month where job losses due to the pandemic appeared. Statewide construction companies swiftly and drastically reduced headcount; shaving nearly 6,000 jobs in that first month. Employment bounced back quickly however, with gains in the following month recovering more than one third of those initial losses. Throughout the remainder of 2020, up until December 2020, statewide construction employment remained steady.
Only in December 2020 did another significant reduction in force hit the market, but this time no swift recovery took place. Looking at the YOY change in statewide construction employment, December 2020 through March 2021 shows a consistent period of negative employment growth since the pandemic began. April 2021 shows a bounce back of sorts with more than 2,000 jobs gained compared to the same period in 2020.
The first three months of 2020 showed enormous growth in statewide employment YOY. While that came to an abrupt halt in April 2020, the local construction market has fared well throughout the pandemic. Construction volume is up due to rising prices, projects are moving forward, and construction companies are busy.