Arizona fully recovers pandemic job losses

Job seekers work at computer stations looking for employment at the Arizona Workforce Connection West Valley Career Center on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, in Phoenix. Ross D. Franklin / AP

More than 100% of private-sector jobs in Arizona have been recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the August employment report. 

The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity report showed that Arizona has recovered 325,500 private-sector jobs since April 2020, representing 101% of private-sector jobs lost. 

Between July and August, Arizona’s unemployment fell by about 13,000 people. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.6% to 6.2%, marking the largest rate decline of the year. 

“The last year and a half have challenged Arizonans like never before,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a press release Thursday. “But thanks to the ingenuity and perseverance of our hard-working employees and business community, Arizona’s recovery is in full swing, with a real momentum headed in the right direction.”

The state is 97% recovered from the pandemic when government jobs are included. This makes Arizona the state with the third-fastest total jobs recovery in the country. The United States, on the other hand, has recovered 79% of private-sector jobs.

While the U.S. labor force is still more than 3 million people under pre-pandemic levels, in March, the number of Arizonans working or seeking employment surpassed its pre-pandemic height.

The report ranked Arizona as the eighth least impacted by labor shortages.

“We will continue to work hard to make sure Arizonans have ample opportunity to reenter the workforce, access new skills and get back to work,” Ducey said.

Elizabeth Troutman | The Center Square contributor