According to data from Arizona’s Office of Economic Opportunity, the Cochise County economy added 500 jobs in the 12 months ended June for job growth of 1.5 percent. June’s year-over-year job gains were the most since the 12 months ended November 2008. In the 12 months from July last year through June this year, Cochise County saw year-over-year job gains in four months with stabilization in four months and slight declines in four months. That followed persistent job losses over the previous seven and a half years (from the beginning of 2009 through the middle of last year).
In the 12 months ended June, Cochise County’s private sector added 700 jobs for job growth of 3.1 percent. Those gains were partly offset by the loss of 200 government-sector jobs (-1.8 percent) with 100 of those in federal government (-2.0 percent) and 100 in state and local government (-1.7 percent).
All of the private-sector job gains in the 12 months ended June were service jobs, which were up by a net 700 (3.4 percent) with the addition of 500 educational and health services jobs (10.2 percent), 200 financial activities jobs (20 percent), and 100 leisure and hospitality jobs (2.8 percent) partly offset by the loss of 100 jobs in professional and business services (-2.8 percent). Job numbers stabilized intrade, transportation, and utilities, as well as in the information and other services industries, in the 12 months ended June.
Elsewhere in the private sector, the number of goods-producing jobs stabilized in the 12 months ended June with job numbers flat across manufacturing, construction, and mining.
In month-to-month comparisons, Cochise County lost 500 jobs from May to June—fewer than seasonally expected. All of the job losses were in state and local government and attributable to the end of the school year and turnover of personnel. State and local government job numbers will pick up again in August with the start of the new school year. Cochise County’s federal government job numbers stabilized from May to June.
Cochise County’s private sector gained 100 jobs from May to June, all of which were service jobs in the trade, transportation, and utilities industries. All other private-sector industries countywide (manufacturing; construction and mining; information; financial activities; professional and business services; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services) saw job numbers stabilize at May levels in June.
According to OEO figures, Cochise County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 5.6 to 5.5 percent from May to June. The June rate was down from 6.1 percent in June last year. Unadjusted city-level unemployment rates for June were: Benson, 4.9 percent; Bisbee, 4.0 percent; Douglas, 7.5 percent; Huachuca City, 7.1 percent; Sierra Vista, 5.1 percent; Tombstone, 1.7 percent; and Willcox, 6.0 percent.
Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stabilized at 5.1 percent from May to June (down from 5.3 percent in June 2016). The national unemployment rate inched upward from 4.3 to 4.4 percent in June (down from 4.9 percent in June last year).
Dr. Robert Carreira is chief economist at Cochise College Center for Economic Research. He can be reached at Robert@CochiseEconomy.com. Visit the CER website at CochiseEconomy.com.