June 6, 2021

Valorie Rice

Arizona ranks No. 49 in public school spending per student

Public school per pupil spending in 2019 increased by 4.5 percent in Arizona, a little less that the 5.0 percent increase nationally, which was the largest increase the U.S. had seen in over a decade. These data come from the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of School System Finances released May 18.  Arizona remains near the bottom spending $8,624 per student compared to $13,187 nationally.

That ranks Arizona 49th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only two states spent less, Utah at $8,014 and Idaho at $7,985. New York spent the most at $25,139 per pupil. Our state, however, was last for instruction spending per pupil, which includes all funds for salaries, employee benefits, supplies, materials, and contractual services. Public school systems in Arizona were among those that drew the highest percentage of revenues from the federal government along with Alaska, South Dakota, and New Mexico.

READ ALSO: Ranking Arizona: Top 10 charter and private schools for 2021

Arizona bankruptcies remained below 1,000 filings for a sixth month. Typically, March and April are the highest bankruptcy months in the year and this April there were 983 filings, 6.3 percent fewer than the same month a year ago. Bankruptcies were lower in the state as well as in the Phoenix and Yuma offices; however, they increased 14.2 percent for the Tucson office in April. Cochise, Graham, Pima, and Pinal counties all had more filings this April than they did last year. Every type of filing was unchanged or lower in April with one exception as the Tucson office had a 19.0 percent increase for Chapter 7 (liquidation). Year-to-date, total bankruptcies were down 27.2 percent with the Phoenix office down 30.3 percent year-to-date, the Tucson office down 18.6 percent and the Yuma office also down 18.6 percent. The Phoenix office includes Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, and Yavapai counties. The Tucson office handles Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties, while the Yuma office represents La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties.

Arizona employment in April increased by 8.7 percent over April 2020 compared to a 10.9 percent increase for the nation. In a reverse of the last few months, nearly all sectors had increases in employment compared to the same month the prior year. Only government and natural resources and mining lost jobs. Leisure and hospitality had the largest over the year increase in employment for April. Over-the-year job growth in Arizona metro areas for April: Prescott 14.3 percent, Flagstaff 13.8 percent, Lake Havasu City-Kingman 12.5 percent, Phoenix 9.2 percent, Sierra Vista-Douglas 7.3 percent, Tucson 7.1 percent, and Yuma 6.7 percent. The May 20 Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity release reported a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Arizona at 6.7 percent for April, unchanged from March.



More than half of states had an unemployment rate lower than the U.S. rate of 6.1 percent in April, based on the State Employment and Unemployment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 21.  Arizona, at 6.7 percent, was higher than the national rate but still lower than Hawaii with the highest unemployment rate for April, at 8.5 percent. There were four states with a 2.8 percent unemployment rate. Sharing that low rate were Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Utah.  All states plus the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were lower or little changed from the same time last year.

Sierra Vista was among the most affordable places in the country during first quarter 2021 coming in among the top ten affordable metropolitan areas, according to the National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index released on May 6. Nationally, 63.1 percent of homes sold in the first quarter (both new and used) were affordable to families earning the median income of $79,900 in the U.S., down slightly from 63.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Just three of Arizona’s metros – Sierra Vista-Douglas, Yuma, and Tucson – had a higher share of home affordable for their areas. Only Flagstaff and Sierra Vista improved affordability from the fourth quarter 2020 to the first quarter 2021 with Tucson’s affordability decreasing the most. The share of homes affordable for a median family income in Arizona metropolitan areas during first quarter 2021: Sierra Vista-Douglas 94.8 percent, Yuma 79.1 percent, Tucson 70.2 percent, Phoenix 62.8 percent,  Lake Havasu City-Kingman 61.1 percent, Flagstaff 54.5 percent and Prescott 47.6 percent.

The March trade deficit for the U.S. widened to $74.4 billion, up $3.9 billion from the revised February figure. Both imports and exports were higher over the month with imports coming in at $274.5 billion, a $16.4 billion increase, and exports increasing $12.4 billion to $200.0 billion. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased 64.2 percent over the same period in 2020 according to the joint U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis release on May 4.

Consumer prices rose 0.8 percent over the month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the index for all items less food and energy having its largest monthly increase since 1982 at 0.9 percent. The index for used cars and trucks increased 10.0 percent, the largest single-month increase since the series began in 1953, and accounted for a third of the increase for the seasonally adjusted all items index. The annual inflation rate was 4.2 percent for April with the energy index increasing the most over the last 12 months at 25.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. The 12-month change in food prices was 2.4 percent and 3.0 percent for all items less food and energy according to the May 12 release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Producer prices were also up over the month in April, rising 0.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, according to the May 13 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. Final demand goods and final demand services were both up 0.6 percent for the month. The final demand index was up 6.2 percent for the 12 months ending in April on an unadjusted basis, the largest increase since it was first calculated in 2010.


Valorie Rice is the Senior Business Information Specialist at the Economic and Business Research Center (EBRC) in the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.