There were 1,637 bankruptcies filed in Arizona for the month of April, compared to the March figure of 1,631. This was a decrease of 16.5% from April of last year. Year-to-date bankruptcies are down 18.6% from last year. For April, there were 1,155 filings in the Phoenix office (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, and Yavapai counties), 414 in the Tucson office (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties), and 68 in the Yuma office (La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties).

Yuma is the most affordable housing market in Arizona, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index 1st quarter 2015 release. The Housing Opportunity Index tracks the share of homes affordable for the median family income of an area and provides that data for 225 metropolitan areas in the U.S.  For Arizona metros, the share of homes affordable to the median income in order of affordability were Yuma, 83.4%; Tucson, 79.2%; Lake Havasu City-Kingman, 73.7%; Prescott, 70.3%; Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, 70.2%; and Flagstaff, 59.7%. Nationally, 66.5% of new and existing homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the U.S. median family income of $65,800, with the most affordable metro being Sandusky, OH (96.3%) and San Francisco (14.1%) the least.

Producer prices decreased 0.4% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the May 14 Producer Price Index release. Final demand goods were down 0.7% while services were down 0.1% for the month, after both were positive in March. The 12-month change in producer prices declined 1.3% in April, the third month in a row in the negative range.

There was a large bump in unemployment claims for the state at the beginning of April, but they once again trending down.  Weekly applications for initial unemployment benefits were 4,563 for Arizona the week ending April 25, compared to 4,848 the week before. The four-week average was also down 136 to 5,605. Nationally, initial unemployment claims were a seasonally adjusted 264,000 the week ending May 8. The four-week average dropped to 271,750, which was the lowest it has been in 15 years.

THIS WEEK May 8, 2015

A sharp jump in imports led to a trade deficit of $51.4 billion for March, up $15.5 billion from February. Both exports and imports were up over the month, but while exports increased $1.6 billion to $187.8 billion, imports were $239.2 billion in March, $17.1 billion higher than the month previous.  Year-to-date, the deficit of goods and services increased 5.2%, or $6.4 billion, from the same period in 2014.

The April employment situation report, released May 8th, indicated that the U.S. gained 223,000 nonfarm jobs for the month. This was a substantial increase over the 85,000 added in March, but not quite matching the 266,000 added in February. Sectors having the largest gains in employment for the month were professional and business services, health care, and construction. Mining lost jobs for the third month in a row. The unemployment rate was 5.4% in April, basically unchanged from the 5.5% reported in March.

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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