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Arizona is No. 3 in nation for job recovery out of pandemic, report finds

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — A recent report found Arizona’s job recovery rate coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic is 87%, only behind Idaho and Utah for the best in the nation.

The nationwide job recovery rate is 70% following mandatory closures of businesses deemed non-essential to stop the spread of the virus, according to an employment report released on July 15 from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The strong recovery is being attributed to the Grand Canyon State’s robust economy before the pandemic hit.

“That allowed the economy during the initial months to be less impacted by the pandemic,” Doug Walls, labor market information director for the authority’s Office of Economic Opportunity, said.

Travel and tourism industries, the hardest-hit leisure, have recovered 113,000 jobs.

Arizona’s hiring in the private sector usually slows in the summer as schools close and tourism slows during excessive heat.

However, Arizona is playing catchup in 2021.

“The private sector had averaged a loss of 9,000 jobs in the month of June,” Walls said. “To see a gain of 26,000 jobs is significant.”

If COVID-19 vaccination rates improve, Walls expects full job recovery in a year.

“With rates of recovery that we had been seeing over the last couple of months, it’s possible that we reach pre-pandemic levels even before the middle of ’22,” he said.

Arizona’s labor force reached 3.6 million people in June, with 39,346 more residents working than in February of 2020.

The state’s unemployment rate slightly rose to 6.8%, indicating that more people are looking for work as government subsidies for unemployment insurance and rental assistance subside.

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