By Tasha Anderson and Rebekah Morris for AZBEX
Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 6.6 percent in July 2021, from 6.8 percent in June 2021, according to the latest report published by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.
The national rate decreased to 5.4 percent from 5.9 percent in June. In July 2020, the state had a seasonally adjusted rate of 10.4 percent, and the national was at 10.2 percent.
The state had a net gain of 6,100 non-farm jobs over the month. “Historically (2011-2020), Nonfarm employment has recorded a loss of 19,700 jobs in July,” the report states. Professional & Business Services had the largest net gain of 11,700 jobs, followed by Leisure & Hospitality with 2,400. Government had the largest net loss of 10,000 jobs. Construction gained 300 jobs for the month.
Leisure & Hospitality took the top spot in job gains from July 2020 to July 2021 with a total of 60,100, followed by Trade, Transportation & Utilities with 41,000. Construction reported a 4,000-job gain over the year. Year Over Year (YOY) gains were reported in all eleven sectors.
The report notes that, “July 2021 year over year calculations include July 2020 as the historical period of comparison. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment estimates for almost every industry across Arizona in July 2020 recorded larger than average single-month declines. With July 2020 as the comparison point, as the state recovers jobs, employment estimate increases for July are atypically large.”
Statewide construction employment totals 176.3K jobs, which increased by 300 from June 2021 and increased by 4,000 from July 2020.
The Arizona Construction sector features three major segments: Buildings, Heavy, and Specialty Trades. There are currently 37,900 jobs in Buildings, which increased by 700 from June 2021 and increased by 2,600 from July 2020. Heavy Construction decreased by 300 over the month for a total of 20,400 and lost 200 over the year. Specialty Trades decreased by 1,000 over the month for a total of 118,000, and the segment gained 1,600 over the year.
Construction jobs in the Phoenix Metro Area (Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale) gained 800 over the month for a total of 136,800. The July 2020 number was 133,700. The Metro Tucson construction jobs remained at 18,700 jobs for the month. The July 2020 number was 17,700.
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 at 3,800, Flagstaff remained at 2,800, Prescott remained at 7,200, Lake Havasu City-Kingman remained at 4,200, and Sierra Vista-Douglas remained at 3,700 for the month. There are no reported gains or losses for the month.
Unlike other Industries, Construction Remained Steady Throughout COVID
Arizona construction employment was mostly spared throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to remain strong. Before the pandemic took hold of the world economies, Arizona Construction was significantly higher than 2019.
After an initial and abrupt shock to the market in April 2020 where the Arizona construction shed 5,800 jobs, the market quickly stabilized and has since recovered those positions. Statewide construction employment has now matched the relative construction employment peak reached pre-COVID, in February 2020. Construction employment still does not touch the past peak of 240.3K jobs which was achieved in 2006; as an industry current employment is 26.63 percent lower than that high-water mark.