by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

 Bankruptcies in Arizona are down 19.4% year-to-date. There were 1,631 bankruptcies in the state for March, down from 1,894 in March of last year. The Yuma office (covering La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties) had the largest drop in cases year-over-year for March, moving down 37.4%.

Producer prices were up in March, according to the April 14 release from Bureau of Labor Statistics. Final demand prices increased 0.2% for the month, seasonally adjusted, after being lower in January and February. The 12-month change in producer prices decreased 0.8% before seasonal adjustment. 

Arizona’s over-the-year job growth hit 2.6% in March, outpacing the U.S. rate of 2.3%. Sectors gaining the most jobs in the last 12 months were education and health services (15.1%), professional and business services (13.7%), and trade, transportation and utilities (11.8%). The unemployment rate for Arizona fell to 6.2% for the month, from 6.5% in February. This was still above the U.S. rate of 5.5%.

The Census Bureau released the 2014 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections on April 16. State government tax revenues increased for the fourth year in a row, moving up 2.2% between fiscal year 2013 and 2014 to $865.8 billion. While revenues were up overall for 2014, 17 states had a decrease in tax revenues, Arizona among them. In fact, our state had the third highest dollar amount of reductions in total tax revenues behind Alaska and Ohio, going from $13.5 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $13.1 billion in fiscal year 2014. Alaska had biggest drop in revenue (down 33.9%); while North Dakota had the highest increase (15.5%). These statistics are tax collections for state governments only; they do not include tax collections from local governments.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits in Arizona rose 1,043 for the third week of March to 5,107. The four-week moving average was also higher at 4,170 compared to 3,891 the previous week. U.S. jobless claims were higher the week ending April 11 at a seasonally adjusted 294,000. The four-week moving average was 282,750. These figures were higher than expected; however, continuing claims for the nation were at the lowest reading since December 2000.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) increased 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the second month in a row in March. Increases in energy and housing prices offset a drop in food prices for the month. The annual inflation rate for March dipped into negative territory at -0.1% before seasonal adjustment. It had been flat in February.

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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