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Arizona projected to approach pre-pandemic job totals in spring 2022

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PHOENIX – Arizona job levels are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels about a year from now, according to a new forecast.

A report released Thursday by the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Office of Economic Opportunity projects that the state will have 3,178,686 jobs by the second quarter of 2022.

Arizona had 3,193,740 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2019, the last full quarter before the coronavirus jolted economies across the globe.

The number fell to 3,180,619 the next quarter, which included the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With many businesses forced to close and consumers reticent to enter the ones that could stay open as the virus surged last spring and summer, the job count fell to 2,853,646 in the second quarter of 2020.

That represented a loss of roughly 340,000 jobs from two quarters earlier.

Maricopa County is projected to fully recover the jobs lost to the pandemic and then some by spring 2022.

The Phoenix area had 2,278,345 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2019 and is projected to bounce up to 2,281,259 in Q2 of next year.

Doug Walls, labor market information director for the Office of Economic Opportunity, told KTAR News 92.3 FM recently that 69% of Arizona’s pandemic job loss had been recovered as of December. He said the U.S. overall had seen a recovery rate of 56%.

“While we did lose a significant number of jobs, month after month and kind of a steady progression we have seen many of those jobs come back,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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