State-by-state employment numbers through March were released last week and they help illustrate Arizona's middling economic performance over the past year.
In that time, Arizona gained a net 47,800 jobs. That was enough to boost the workforce 1.9 percent in that time and was faster than the nation's 1.6 percent growth rate.
But the state's job recovery remains on a slow climb, something many economists had hoped would change in 2014.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 26 states with statistically significant employment gains in the past year, and Arizona is one of them. Arizona ranked 11th in both the number of jobs added and in the percentage of jobs added.
But three of those 26 states dominate the employment gains. California, Texas and Florida added a net 860,000 jobs and accounted for a combined 47 percent of all the gains in the states where it was worth noting. After those states, the numbers drop quickly to levels more like Arizona's.
If Arizona's numbers were only slightly higher or lower, the state could jump to 9th-best in the country or fall to 16th.
The declines among the unemployed also suggests Arizona's job climate is changing only slowly.
Arizona had 21,000 fewer unemployed residents in March this year compared with the year before. That was a nearly 9 percent decline, according to the BLS.
That ranked 34th among the states.
The stubborn reductions in unemployment are one reason that only seven states currently have higher unemployment rates than Arizona's 7.3 percent.
The problem isn't due to new residents flooding the labor market, either. The labor force, a number that includes all those who want to work, grew only 7,000 in the past year. That's 0.2 percent growth and ranked 25th in the nation by that measure.
In fact, many economists say Arizona's slow recovery from the Great Recession is due in large part to the continued slow rebound in population growth. If more people were moving in, it is believed, more jobs would be needed to support those new residents.
Content reposted from AZ Central. Click here to view original post.
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