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State Jobless Rate Droping In Part to Fast Food Job Increase

Phoenix, AZ – The state Department of Commerce puts the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May at 9.1 percent, down two-tenths of a point from the prior month. Pushing the numbers down was the fact that 22-hundred more people were working in May than in April -- including 17-hundred more in the leisure and hospitality industry, a segment of the economy that normally sheds staff as the snowbirds flee. But what also happened in May is that McDonald's restaurants held job fairs nationwide. And they hired 13-hundred workers in Arizona alone. Economist Aruna Murthy said the state also posted job gains in manufacturing, particularly among companies making durable goods. She said that is a good sign.

(People put off the purchase of durable goods for quite a while till they feel they have the money to buy it since it's not an essential. With this number continuing to increase, I'm a little bit more optimistic that things will hopefully continue to get better.)

That 9.1 percent jobless rate is the same as the national figure. But Murthy said the numbers actually show the recovery is faster here, where the unemployment rate a year ago was 10 percent, versus 9.6 percent nationally.

(There are jobs being created in Arizona. The gain in jobs is not at the rate we would like to see. But if you compare it to the recessionary times where month after month we were seeing declines, there were no new jobs being created, and we were seeing losses month after month.)

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.