by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

Arizona real GDP increased 1.4% in 2014, ranking it 26th among all states for real GDP growth over the year. Data for Arizona were revised downward slightly for the past three years compared to what was previously published. The revised percent change in GDP for 2013 is now 0.8%, while 2012 is 2.0% and 2011 is 1.7%. While the largest contributor to U.S. real GDP in 2014 was professional, scientific, and technical services, which 4.2%, for Arizona the largest contributor was retail trade, which grew 5.9%. The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the state GDP data on June 10th.

Arizona initial unemployment claims were 4,649 the week ending May 23rd. The less volatile four-week moving average for the state was 4,506. Nationally, initial claims rose to 279,000 for the week ending June 6th, and the four-week average also increased to 278,750. 

Producer prices rose 0.5% in May, seasonally adjusted, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics release June 12th. This follows a 0.4% drop in prices for April. Final demand goods rose 1.3% in May while final demand services were flat for the month. The unadjusted 12-month change in producer prices was -1.1%. 

Arizona is among three states in the US which spent the least per pupil on PreK-12 education in 2013, according to a Census Bureau report on public school system finances released June 2nd. Arizona’s total per pupil spending was $7,208 in 2013, with only Idaho and Utah spending less. While per pupil spending for the nation was $10,700 during fiscal year 2013, a 0.9 percent increase from 2012 overall, spending per pupil varied heavily among states with a high of $19,818 in New York and a low of $6,555 in Utah. While Arizona was 3rd lowest in total per pupil spending, the state slid to last place when it came to per pupil spending on teacher pay and school administration. Arizona was among the states receiving the highest percentage of their revenue from the federal government, with 14.6% coming from the federal government (5th highest among all states and D.C.), 36.2% from the state, and 49.2% from local sources.

The U.S. trade deficit decreased to $40.9 billion in April after bumping up to $50.6 billion in March. Exports were $189.9 billion in April; $1.9 billion more than the month before, while imports were $7.8 billion less than March. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased 0.9% over the same period in 2014.

April unemployment rates were lower over-the-year for 344 of 387 metropolitan areas tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 36 areas higher and 7 unchanged. All Arizona metros had lower unemployment rates in April compared to the same month a year before. Yuma once again had the highest unemployment rate in the country for the month, with a rate of 22.2%. The lowest unemployment rate in the country was in Lincoln, Nebraska with 2.1%.

There were 4,409 initial unemployment claims filed in Arizona the second week of May. The four-week average was 4,484, down 110 from the week prior. U.S. jobless claims were a seasonally adjusted 276,000 the week ending May 30. This was the 13th straight week that unemployment claims were fewer than 300,000. The four-week moving average, which reduces volatility, was up slightly to 274,750.

The Kauffman Foundation released Kauffman Index: Startup Activity on June 4, which is the first of three reports they will have on entrepreneurship this year. The startup report focuses on three variables – rate of new entrepreneurs, opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, and startup density – and these are presented at the national, state, and metropolitan level (40 largest). States in the western U.S. fared very well with Montana ranking highest in startup activity in 2015, followed by Wyoming, North Dakota, and Colorado. Arizona was near the middle of the pack at 21. Phoenix was the only metro area in Arizona tracked in the reports and it ranked 14th of 40 metropolitan areas. Austin had the top ranking in 2015 while Pittsburgh ranked last.

U.S. total nonfarm employment increased by 280,000 in May, according to the June 5th employment situation release. Industries with the highest job growth for the month were professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Mining and information were the only industries with losses for the month. The national unemployment rate was 5.5% in May, essentially unchanged from the last two months. 

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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