[Source: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services] — Arizona will continue to lose jobs for probably another year, the state Department of Commerce predicted Thursday. Senior economist Jack York said the number of people working at the end of this year will be 178,500 less than when the year started. That translates to a loss of 6.8%. Both those figures set new records — and by large margins. The biggest loss in pure numbers was recorded last year when the number employed dropped by 57,400. And in pure percentages, the biggest drop was at the end of World War II when employment declined by 2.9%.
State officials figure that most of the jobs that they predict the state will lose this year already are gone. But they are figuring another 70,400 will be out of work by the end of the year. But that won’t be the bottom: York said job losses will continue through at least the first half of 2010. He predicted, however, that hiring will pick up in the third quarter of the year, spurred by federal stimulus projects, war spending and even some increased consumer spending. That late-year boost, York said, should limit year-over-year losses in 2010 to 17,400.
York was less willing to predict just how high the state’s jobless rate, currently 9.1%, will go before subsiding. But Lisa Danka, a deputy assistant director at the agency, said double-digit figures would not be surprising. The last time Arizona’s jobless rate topped 10 percent was July 1983. Not surprisingly, York said state’s beleaguered construction industry will continue to suffer, with the 2009 job losses likely hitting close to 50,000. Part of that, he said, is related to the fact that population growth has slowed. [Note: Read the full article at Arizona expected to lose jobs for another year.]