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Arizona reports highest employment numbers since start of pandemic

As of July 2021, the number of people employed in the Valley was higher than its ever been since the pandemic began last March.
Credit: KPNX
Businesses in the valley seek workers as economy continues post-pandemic recovery

PHOENIX — Arizona's latest employment numbers show the Phoenix area has more employed workers than its ever seen since the state's economy was wrecked by the pandemic last spring.

According to a recent report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, the state had 3.41 million employed workers as of July 2021. 

That figure is about 387,000 more than the number reported in April 2020, when Arizona's job market started tanking due to COVID-19.  

In fact, the number of employed residents reported in July was higher than any of the monthly figures reported during the previous 17 months. 

The Phoenix area, which encompasses Maricopa and Pinal counties, recorded having 297,000 more employed workers than it did last April, meaning the region's unemployment rate has dropped from 13.5% to 5.8%. 

Phoenix's labor force has grown by more than 112,000 people during the pandemic, which has likely hindered the area's unemployment rate from getting back down to the levels seen before April 2020. 

The region's unemployment rate was 4.0% in February 2020. And yet Phoenix had about 8,700 more employed people in July 2021 than it did in February 2020, according to the state's statistics.

July's jobs report suggests Arizona has recovered many of the jobs that were lost during the pandemic's darkest days. 

Officials from the Office of Economic Opportunity have said Arizona lost at least 295,000 jobs at the peak of the pandemic.

Back in February, Gov. Doug Ducey predicted Arizona would add 325,000 jobs to the economy within a one-year span by the spring of 2021. 

The latest job numbers show Arizona appears to have surpassed that goal.

“Arizona is a place where opportunities are plentiful and jobs are growing,” Ducey said in February. “Families and businesses from across the nation continue to choose Arizona, and it’s resulting in greater employment opportunities for existing residents and newcomers. Arizona is resilient — and these job projections prove it.”

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