Job-seeker Awilda Edgar, right, greets Eddie Real, a supervisory team lead with Expert Global Solutions, during a job fair in October at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way.

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

The state’s jobless rate dropped a healthy three-tenths of a point last month.

New figures from the Office of Economic Opportunity put the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October at 5.2 percent. That’s as low as its been since June 2008.

Spurring that along was the gain of 50,400 new jobs in the past year.

On the other side of the equation, Doug Walls, the agency’s research administrator, said the number of Arizonans collecting unemployment last month was 28,421. That’s down by about 1,300 from the same time a year earlier.

And it is far below the more than 100,000 who were collecting jobless benefits in October 2009.

Month over month, Yuma County showed the strongest growth at 1.9 percent. Walls said that’s directly related to the area’s agricultural industry.

The employment statistics do not measure farm labor.

But Walls said they do measure ancillary services like warehouses and packing plants. And he said there’s a ripple effect of more people working on farms, as they need other services.

On an annual basis, Walls said Yavapai County topped the list at a 4.8 percent growth rate.

That was led by a 7 percent increase in health care and private education. But Walls said he could not cite a specific reason for the jump in employment.

Overall, Walls said there was the expected increase in leisure and hospitality employment as firms began hiring to deal with the influx of winter visitors.

One big area of employment gain was among firms that run temporary employment agencies. Walls said this reflects a change in the economy, both locally and nationally, toward e-commerce, with these companies operating huge warehouses to deal with seasonal buying.

But Walls said there’s another side to that coin. He said the increase in employment by traditional retail stores was just 0.6 percent over the same time last year.

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