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State Jobless Rate Increases for the Third Month in a Row

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A new report today shows the state’s jobless rate jumped for the third month in a row. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer has details.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment figure for August hit 7.1 percent. While that’s still a full point lower than a year ago, it had been 6.8 percent in May. By contrast, the national jobless rate dropped a tenth of a point to 6.1 percent. Economist Aruna Murthy said August was particularly disappointing.

“Retail had a loss of 200 jobs. So, for a month where you have back to school shopping, this is not good,” Murthy said.

But that’s only part of what concerns her. Murthy also noted an uptick in hiring in employment services, the firms that provide temporary workers to other companies.

“So that seems to say that there are some changes in the economy that a lot of people are being hired as temporary rather than permanen,” Murthy said.

And, she said that indicates that companies that need help are not confident enough that the economy is growing to actually put people on their own payrolls.

“Maybe they will translate and later on they will become permanent. But right now there is something going on that instead of hiring them as permanent they're being hired as temporary,” Murthy said.

Murthy said at this rate the state will be hard pressed to post a lackluster 2 percent job growth for all of 2014.

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