Metro Phoenix projected to lose 128,300 jobs in next two years; Arizona 167,800 to be lost

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — Arizona is expected to lose 167,800 jobs in 2009 and 2010, according to new estimates from the Arizona Department of Commerce.  The Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa metro area is expected to take the biggest hit, losing 128,300 jobs.  The state economic agency said Thursday most of the Arizona job losses (146,200) would come this year, with the economy bottoming out and starting to improve in 2010.  The slowdown in population growth, real estate markets, and consumer spending, as well as tight credit, are hurting job growth in the state and the Phoenix area.

The report projects a 21 percent drop in construction employment in the state in 2009, but only a 2 percent loss next year.  The construction sector has been hit hard by the housing free-fall.  Professional and business services are expected to lose 8 percent of their jobs in Arizona this year and a more modest 1.8 percent drop next year.

Robin Bumgarner, senior regional vice president of Ajilon Professional Staffing in Phoenix, said she is seeing some improvement in the engineering and banking sectors in terms of hiring.  She is seeing more optimism than in February, which she now hopes was a “bottom.”  Bumgarner said the summer still could be rough, with winter visitors leaving and less overall business and tourism activity in the Valley. She said many of the job cuts come first for support and administrative staff and other “nonrevenue producers,” followed by middle managers.

Education and health care are the only sectors projected with any kind of statewide gains: 1.6 percent in 2009 and 1.5 percent next year, according to the state Commerce Department.

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