PHOENIX — The state's jobless rate inched down just a bit last month amid weaker than expected showing in retail and health care employment.
New figures for February put the unemployment rate at 7.9 percent, a decline of one-tenth of a percent. And, on paper, the state did add 22,900 jobs from January.
But economist Aruna Murthy of the state Department of Administration, said that is below what is normally expected this time of the year.
The state's retail sector shed 5,000 jobs month over month as stores are selling less and, as a result hiring fewer staffers.
``It's a reflection of the economy,'' Murthy said.
``People are still worried,'' she continued. ``People are not spending as much as they typically do.'