AZ Job Growth Continues to Top U.S. in April

May 24, 2017
Valorie Hanni Rice Senior Specialist, Business Information

Arizona job growth continues to top the U.S., as April year-over-year job growth for Arizona was 1.9% and 1.4% for the nation. The unemployment rate was stable at 5.0%. The April employment report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity on May 18 listed leisure and hospitality as the sector with the most over the year growth, adding 17,200 jobs. Eight of the eleven sectors reported employment gains, while natural resources & mining, information, and other services all lost jobs. Over the year job growth varied in Arizona metro areas: Flagstaff 0.8%, Lake Havasu City-Kingman 1.4%, Phoenix 2.5%, Prescott 2.2%, Sierra Vista 0.0%, Tucson 0.2%, and Yuma 3.1%.  

The Consumer Price Index increase 0.2% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis according to the May 12 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. Energy and food prices, particularly fruits and vegetables, contributed to the increase in the CPI for the month as did higher tobacco prices.  The annual inflation rate was 2.2% for April.

Producer prices were up 0.5% in April, seasonally adjusted, according to the May 11 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. Final demand goods and final demand services both increased over the month at 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. The unadjusted 12-month change in producer prices for April was 2.5%.

Housing affordability was better in most Arizona metropolitan areas than the U.S. during the first quarter 2017 according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released May 11. Nationally, 60.3% of new and existing homes sold in the first quarter were affordable for families earning the U.S. median income. The share of homes affordable for the median family income of each metro area in Arizona ranked by affordability: Sierra Vista-Douglas 86.6, Tucson 79.2, Yuma 79.0, Lake Havasu City-Kingman 69.2, Phoenix 67.9, and Prescott 49.2. A figure for Flagstaff was not available for the first quarter 2017.

Real gross domestic product by state increased in every state during the fourth quarter 2016. Real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.0% in Arizona, far below Texas at 3.4% which had the highest percent change, but well above the lowest shared by Kansas and Mississippi at 0.1%. Arizona’s third quarter 2016 real GDP had a substantial upward revision, moving to 8.2% from the 2.8% originally recorded, while the first and second quarter figures were revised somewhat downward.

Arizona bankruptcies were up 2.6% over the year in April. Filings typically spike in March or April and level off slightly through the rest of the year. There were 1,445 bankruptcies in Arizona during April and 1,493 in March. For April, the Phoenix office (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, and Yavapai) had 1,023 filings, the Tucson office (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz) had 358 and the Yuma office (La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma) was at 64. Year-to-date bankruptcies for the state are still down slightly (-0.9%) compared with this time last year.

Total nonfarm employment in the U.S. increased by 211,000 in April after adding only 79,000 in March. Industries with the most jobs gains were leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining. The May 5 Bureau of Labor Statistics release also indicated that the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4%.

The U.S. trade deficit was down slightly in March to $43.7 billion from $43.8 billion in February according to the joint Bureau of Economic Analysis/Census Bureau report released May 4. Both exports and imports were $1.7 billion lower than the month previous. The deficit of goods and services year-to-date was 7.5% higher than the same period last year.