by Valorie H. Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information
January bankruptcy filings in Arizona were lower than they have been in a number of years. The two largest counties, and correspondingly the state, were down to amounts not seen since 2007. Maricopa County bankruptcies were 599 in January, while Pima County filings were less than 100 (at 96). Totals for Arizona were 846, a decrease of 13.6% from January 2015.
There were 4,348 initial unemployment claims in Arizona the week ending January 30, up from 4,214 the week prior. The four-week average was 4,707 compared with 4,378 the week before. Nationally, initial applications for unemployment benefits dropped 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000 for the week ending February 6. The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, was down slightly at 281,250.
There was an increase of 151,000 total nonfarm payroll jobs for the U.S. in January according to the Feb 5 release. This was the smallest increase in several months. Industries with the highest increases in employment for January were retail trade, food services & drinking places, health care, and manufacturing. Job losses were predominately in private education services, transportation & warehousing, and mining. The unemployment rate for the nation was down slightly at 4.9% after staying at 5.0% for the last three months.
The U.S. trade deficit was $43.4 billion in December, up from $42.2 billion in November. This was due to a combination of increases in imports (up $0.6 billion) and a decrease in exports (down $0.5 billion). The annual trade balance in 2015 had a deficit of $531.5 billion compared to $508.3 billion in 2014 and $478.4 billion in 2013. Both exports and imports were lower in 2015 compared to 2014, but exports were down $112.9 billion while imports lowered $98.7 billion.