Arizona’s jobless rate held steady in March

2014-04-17T11:00:00Z 2014-07-13T15:50:00Z Arizona’s jobless rate held steady in MarchBy Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star

PHOENIX — The state’s jobless rate was unchanged last month at 7.3 percent as the economic recovery remained sluggish.

Arizona added 15,600 jobs in March over February.

That was good enough to result in a 1.9 percent year-over-year improvement in employment.

The state could get its overall job growth back above the 2 percent figure by the end of this year, said Aruna Murthy, director of economic analysis for the state Department of Administration.

She said it would be wishful thinking, however, to have year-over-year job growth back above 4 percent — where it was in 2006 — any time soon.

One disappointing area of the economy is within the manufacturing sector.

The state’s aerospace industry shed another 200 jobs last month, bringing annual losses to 1,300. Murthy said much of this is linked to less defense spending.

But the data also shows that employment at manufacturers of computers and electronic parts dropped by 200 last month and 1,800 since March of 2013.

Murthy said that is likely a reflection of the fact that demand for computers is changing from desktops and laptops to tablets and cellphones. That has lessened the demand for the chips that power the bigger machines.

State officials cannot discuss employment at any specific company. But Intel, maker of many of the chips for larger machines, has left a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Chandler unoccupied. Intel officials have said, though, they did create the 1,000 jobs slated for the facility.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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