Tucson economy: After significant job growth in 2019, slump lies ahead


Amid closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate spiked up significantly reaching 12.6% in April. That was below the national rate of 14.7% but was the highest reading since the beginning of the current series in 1976. Employment in Arizona’s leisure and hospitality sector was the hardest hit declining by 36.9% between March and April. Retail trade was also hit hard during this period, declining by 14.3%. Arizona’s unemployment rate fell just behind Texas at 12.8%. Among the western states Nevada posted the highest unemployment rate in April at 28.2%, this was driven by the state’s industrial mix and the large share of jobs in leisure & hospitality. Utah had the lowest rate at 9.7%. Arizona’s unemployment rate increased by 7.8 percentage points from last April. Tucson’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April was 12.6%. This was slightly lower than the state’s non-seasonally adjusted rate of 12.9%. When compared to last year, Tucson’s unemployment rate increased by 8.4 percentage points. Stay tuned for a MAP article comparing metro level unemployment rates in early June.   

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