July 08, 2022

George W. Hammond

Arizona posts largest manufacturing jobs gain since 1966

Arizona’s unemployment rate hit (another) new low at 3.2% in April. The state’s seasonally-adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 16,100 in April, after a revised drop of 4,400 in April. The preliminary estimate for March showed a decline of 3,700 jobs. Over-the-month job gains were driven by Arizona manufacturing jobs, which added a whopping 4,900 jobs over the month.

That was followed by leisure and hospitality (up 4,600), education and health services (up 2,300), professional and business services (up 1,500), trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,200), information (up 1,000), other services (up 700), and government (up 500). Employment in natural resources and mining and financial activities was stable, while construction jobs dropped by 600.

READ ALSO: Metro Phoenix No. 1 in the nation for highest inflation

The seasonally-adjusted manufacturing job gain in April was the largest on record (going back to 1966). Gains were about evenly split between durables (up 2,200) and nondurables (up 2,700). Durable job gains were concentrated in other durables (up 1,100), with additional gains in aerospace (up 500), computer and electronic products (up 400), and fabricated metals (up 300).

Arizona’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.2% in April, down from 3.3% in March. The April estimate set another record low going back to 1976. (Exhibit 1).

Government and leisure and hospitality jobs remained far below their pre-pandemic levels in April. Government jobs (primarily local government) were 20,300 below and leisure and hospitality jobs were 13,500 jobs below. Education and health services were still down 1,900, followed by information (down 1,200), natural resources and mining (down 200), and other services (down 100).

In contrast, trade, transportation, and utilities jobs were up 55,600 in April, followed by financial activities (up 11,200), manufacturing (up 10,600), construction (up 5,500), and professional and business services (up 3,000).

Overall, Arizona jobs were up 48,700 jobs from February 2020 to April 2022. Even so, state jobs were down 133,800 from where they would have been had the pandemic not occurred (Exhibit 2).

There also remains a lot of variation in job recovery rates across Arizona’s metropolitan statistical areas (Exhibit 3). The current estimates suggest that four of the state’s seven metropolitan areas have replaced all of the jobs lost during the February to April 2020 period: Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma. As of April 2022, Sierra Vista-Douglas replaced 63.6% of the jobs lost early in the pandemic, Tucson replaced 88.4%, and Flagstaff replaced 92.2%.


George W. Hammond, Ph.D., is the director and research professor at the Economic and Business Research Center (EBRC).