Arizona adds 80,000 new jobs as economy slowly bounces back

Sep 23, 2020, 5:00 PM

PHOENIX – Nearly 80,000 jobs have been added in Arizona in the past month after the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy.

“We’ve already regained more than half the jobs we lost, and the job gains have basically been in the places where jobs were lost: leisure and hospitality,” Valley economist Elliot Pollack said Wednesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“Basically the service industries are the ones who were hurt and service industries are where the jobs are being regained. So we’re doing pretty well.”

Greater Phoenix has been ranked as the No. 1 performing major employment market in the U.S. through the first eight months of 2020. In August, the unemployment rate in Arizona dropped from 10.7% to 5.9%, falling below the national rate of 8.3%.

Total jobs in metro Phoenix are still more than 77,000 fewer than a year ago, according to the City of Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department. However, it’s a large recovery from the 164,000 Valley jobs lost in April 2020.

Pollack attributed the decrease in unemployment not only to the increase in jobs, but to a decrease of people in the labor force. He also stated that as things begin to open up again, we can expect to see a “burst in spending” from people who have saved and haven’t had a place to spend money during the pandemic.

“It’ll probably be 2022 before we get back to where we were at the peak,” Pollack said. “It’s also going to be erratic, but again considering we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have therapeutics and the COVID sticks its head up now and then in places we don’t expect, we’re doing pretty well.

“The economy will pull through but it’s going to be slow.”

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Arizona adds 80,000 new jobs as economy slowly bounces back