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Arizona's workforce is the largest it has ever been

After the initial months of the pandemic brought employment rates to all-time lows, the Office of Economic Opportunity said our state has made a full recovery.

ARIZONA, USA — Arizona is leading the nation in jobs gained and labor force growth since the unprecedented drop in employment at the start of the pandemic. Our state has made a full recovery in the workforce according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, though there is still room for improvement. 

"We’ve seen a full recovery in the labor force, meaning the labor force levels have exceeded pre-pandemic levels," Doug Walls, Labor Market Information Director with the Office of Economic Opportunity said. "So we did see a drop off initially but that bounced right back so labor force levels are more than 60,000 individuals above pre-pandemic levels."

Walls said the majority of industries are growing by adding positions, locations, and more. 

"We are seeing the labor force at all-time highs, where it’s nearly 3,650,000 individuals either employed or actively looking for a job."

Is that the largest it's ever been in our state?

"Yes, that's the largest the labor force has been in Arizona," Walls answered. "Arizona has recovered 98% of jobs that have been lost. The U.S. overall has recovered only 81% of the jobs that had been lost so the majority of industry sectors in Arizona are seeing faster growth and a stronger recovery rate."

But leisure and hospitality, one of the sectors still not where it used to be. 

"Bars, restaurants, museums, amusement attractions, that industry is still looking to recover the jobs that had been lost in the initial months of the pandemic so that was the industry that had been hit hardest it lost nearly 150,000 jobs within two months," Walls explained. "Since then, it has recovered nearly 88% of those jobs lost."

But industries like manufacturing and warehousing are expanding if you're looking for a new career.

"We’re seeing job opportunities within transportation and warehousing so think larger distribution warehouses, we’re seeing incredible growth within that industry."

Walls said we're experiencing a hiring boom so get your resumes ready.

"Along with the higher quits rates, people voluntarily leaving their jobs, we are seeing the rate at which employers are hiring at near all-time highs as well," he said. "So it's not people necessarily quitting their jobs and leaving the labor force, we’re seeing growth in the labor force and higher hiring rates."

There are a couple of different reasons behind that. Some are leaving jobs for a different job to make more money, or have better work/life balance. Population also comes into play. 

"Here in Arizona we have strong population growth historically, we have strong labor force growth so some of that momentum leading into the pandemic has been beneficial," he continued. "Also we’re seeing people coming into the state not just looking to retire, we get that perception, but we have a lot of younger working individuals looking for employment opportunities and they’ve been helping to bolster the labor force here in Arizona."

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