Arizona Jobs and Labor Force Update- June 2023 Update
Author: Kamryn Brunner & Glenn Farley
Data Quality & Reliability Issues
While Arizona continues adding jobs, the pace is much slower than it was during late 2020 and most of 2021. Current monthly job growth numbers are small enough that data revisions can dramatically change the picture, and this makes interpreting those numbers difficult. For example, April preliminary establishment employment numbers suggested we lost (a small number of) jobs; today’s revisions suggest we actually gained them.
Today’s preliminary May numbers, in turn, suggest we gained a small number of jobs. It remains to be seen what subsequent revisions will do to those estimates.
However, a slowing Arizona labor market and the increasing volatility in the Establishment survey of job growth makes interpreting the month-to-month changes in jobs numbers difficult and risky. Longer-term, we suspect the quarterly and annual numbers are more reliable, but their cadence is also much slower.
Month-to-month users of this data should be cautious when interpreting positive or negative preliminary numbers, however – the true story is probably no more than job growth has slowed and statistical noise in the employment survey numbers has increased since the pandemic.
Arizona Labor Force Update
Arizona’s labor force participation rate (LFPR) rose to 61.7% in May – the first increase in 5 months. The measure remains .4-percentage points lower than its revised pre-pandemic peak of 62.1%. There are now 3.6 million people in the state’s labor force – the largest it has ever been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping track in 1976.
Key Findings – Arizona April 2023 Labor Force Data (FRED[i])
In April, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) remained at 61.6%, and it remains below its pre-pandemic level of 62.1%.
- At the current population, this gap would equate to approximately 81,000 additional willing workers.
- The unemployment rate remained in May at 3.4%. This is a record low unemployment rate for Arizona, beating the previous record of 3.5% in August 2007.
Were the Participation Rate at its pre-pandemic level, there would be 30 thousand more willing workers in Arizona’s labor force today.