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Arizona's unemployment rate continues to rise

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – New figures today show the state's jobless rate shot up another
half a point last month.

Overall the state shed more than 49,000 jobs between May and
June. While some of that was expected, what with summer job
losses in education, the number of people working in Arizona is
still close to 200,000 less than the same time last year -- and
more than 300,000 down from the beginning of the recession in
late 2007. The one surprise is that construction employment
actually rose, ending a streak of losses that stretched for 21
months. But Lisa Danka of the Department of Commerce isn't
celebrating just yet.

(It's important to note that over-the-year employment in
construction is still down more than 26 percent. And it's too
early just with one month's worth of data to determine if this
slight increase in construction indicates just one month's
activity or a longer trend.)

And Cheri Levenson said no one at the department believes the
Arizona economy is anywhere close to being on the mend.

(We'll have to see the next couple of months to see if this is
indicating that we're at the bottom. We're probably not there
yet. But we're hoping that we're going to start seeing a slowing
of the losses. We expect to see some continuing losses.)

Levenson said her agency still believes the jobless rate will top
10 percent before subsiding.