by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

The 2015 Kids Count Data Book was released July 21. This annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation reflects the well-being of children by state. Despite showing improvement in several areas, Arizona ranked 46th among all states for the second year in a row. The well-being of children is assessed in four categories, each containing 4 indicators. Arizona remained in the same place for the Education (44th) and Family and Community (46th) categories and improved ranking in both Economic Well-Being (moving from 46 to 42) and Health (moving from 44 to 42). 

There were two indicators out of the sixteen tracked in which Arizona had a better score than the U.S. and one in which they were the same as the nation. The state had the same percent of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs as the U.S. total (6.0%), and had a lower rate of low-birthweight babies than the nation (6.9% vs 8.0%). Both of these were in Health category. The other was in Economic Well-Being category with 35.0% of children living in households with a high housing cost burden in AZ and 38.0% in the U.S.  Minnesota ranked the highest among states in 2015 for overall well-being, followed by New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Arizona was one of 12 states in which the unemployment rate increased for June, moving up a tick to 5.9% from 5.8% in May, while 21 states had improvement in their unemployment rates and 17 had no change. Nebraska had the lowest unemployment in June, at 2.6%.  West Virginia had the highest, at 7.4%.

Arizona had a spike in unemployment applications for the second week of July, moving to 7,317 from 4,426. The four-week average also rose to 5,105 from 4,366 the week before. Although initial unemployment benefits were up in Arizona, this last week the nation experienced the lowest number of applications since 1973. Unemployment claims for the week ending July 18 were 255,000 and the four-week moving average dropped to 282,500.

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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