by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

The unemployment rates in Arizona (6.3%) and the U.S. (5.1%) remained the same between August and September. Over the year job growth for Arizona in September was 2.3%, compared to 1.9% for the nation. Prescott (3.4%) and Phoenix (2.5%) metro areas both posted job gains better than the state. Tucson over the year job growth was 1.4%. Other Arizona metro areas did not fare as well: Flagstaff had 0.7%, Yuma -0.2%, Lake Havasu City-Kingman -1.5%, and Sierra Vista-Douglas -1.7%.  Sectors with the highest increases in employment for the state were education & health services and leisure & hospitality, both gaining 11,300 jobs since September last year.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis according to the October 15 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. Sinking gasoline prices were the primary reason for the overall decline. The inflation rate was essentially unchanged.

The Social Security Administration uses Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) third quarter data to make cost of living adjustments for the coming year. The CPI-W covers a smaller percentage of the population than the CPI-U, which is the series typically mentioned in regards to consumer prices. Since the 12-month change in the CPI-W has declined every month so far this year, it was announced that there will be no cost of living increase in Social Security for 2016.

Initial unemployment claims in Arizona were 4,161 the week ending October 3, up 722 from the week before.  The four-week moving average was 3,655 for Arizona. The number of initial jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending October 10 dropped to 255,000. The four-week average was 265,000. 

Producer prices were lower in September by 0.5%, seasonally adjusted. Final demand goods declined 1.2%, which was the largest decrease since January, and final demand services were down 0.4% after three months of increases. The 12-month change in the final demand index was -1.1%, the eighth straight month of decline.

The U.S. trade deficit bumped up to $48.3 billion in August, up $6.5 billion from July.  This was due to both exports decreasing (to $185.1 billion) and imports increasing (to $233.4 billion) over the month. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased 5.2% from the same period 2014.

There were 1,433 bankruptcies filed in Arizona during September, down just 1.2% from the same month a year ago. This is the smallest decrease in year-over-year bankruptcies since the beginning of 2011. The Yuma office (La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties) had the biggest decrease in the number of filings, with 26.6% less than September of last year while the Phoenix office (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, and Yavapai) was down 0.8%. The Tucson office (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz) actually had a 3.7% increase over the year. Total Arizona bankruptcies year to date are down 15.9% and individual bankruptcies are down 5.8% year to date. 


Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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