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State Capitol News

State Jobless Rate Unchanged

Phoenix, AZ – Aruna Murthy of the Department of Commerce said the economy is
being driven largely by consumer confidence -- or the lack of it.
Retailers hired 4,000 people in December to help customers. But
she said that's below the average 6,100 people normally hired by
retailers in December. There does appear to be some sign that
Arizonans are finally willing to spend on entertaining
themselves. For the first time in three years, there was a
December bump in the number of people working in the leisure and
hospitality industry, primarily from hiring at bars and
restaurants. But the picture has been bleaker in the hotel
industry where employment is 400 less than a year ago.

(We have observed that this year it's purely, I think, a function
of recession, in my opinion, that people have traveled less to
Arizona compared to what they have been observing historically.)

Murthy said there are many possible reasons for that.

(People could have traveled less because they haven't sold their
house and they didn't want to move to Arizona. It could have been
because they don't have a job and they didn't want to travel on a

Murthy also said the state's construction industry, which had
begun to show signs of recovery earlier this year, shed 4,200
jobs in December, with employment still at just 46 percent of
what it was at its peak in June 2006. For Arizona Public radio
this is Howard Fischer.