by Valorie H. Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

Real personal income  in Arizona increased by 3.4% in 2014, just a bit higher than the 2.9% U.S. growth rate, according a report released July 7, 2016, by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2014. Changes in real personal income for Arizona metropolitan areas between 2013 and 2014 are as follows: Flagstaff, 4.0%; Prescott, 3.9%; Phoenix, 3.8%; Lake Havasu City-Kingman, 3.5%; Tucson, 2.8%; Sierra Vista-Douglas, 1.6%; and Yuma, -1.1%. This report also includes regional price parities, which revealed that on average, Arizona’s prices were 3.6% below the nation in 2014.

U.S. employment  rose 287,000 in June according to the July 8 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. This was more than expected and far higher than the month before. May employment was revised down to only 11,000 from the original figure of 38,000. Industries with largest boost in job growth during June were leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, and financial activities. Unemployment ticked up 0.2% to 4.9% for the month.

Jobless claims  in Arizona were at 4,663 for the week ending June 25, up 204 from the week before. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, was relatively stable at 4,686 compared to 4,780 the week prior. The national figure for unemployment claims was lower the week ending July 2 at 254,000. The four-week average, which has been trending lower since mid-May, was at 264,750.

There were 10.7% fewer  bankruptcies  filed in Arizona this June than there were the same month a year ago – 1,314 compared to 1,472 in June 2015.  Bankruptcies continue to trend down and are lower by 8.3% year-to-date.

The  U.S. trade deficit  grew larger in May as imports were $3.4 billion higher than the month before along with the fact that exports decreased by $0.3 billion. The total deficit of goods and services was $41.1 billion in May compared to $37.4 billion in April. Year-to-date, the trade deficit has decreased 3.5% from the same period in 2015.

Phoenix home prices gained 5.5% over the year in April, according to the  S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices .  This is in line with recent annual price changes for Phoenix, and remains slightly higher than the U.S. Prices were up 5.0% over the year in April. Portland had the highest 12-month change in prices with 12.3%, while at 1.9%, Washington D.C. had the lowest.

Real GDP  increased at an annual rate of 1.1% in the first quarter 2016. This was a bit higher than the original estimates. In the fourth quarter 2015, real GDP had increased 1.4%. The advance estimate for second quarter 2016 will be released July 29.

Arizona personal income  rose 1.1% in the first quarter 2016, the 11 th  highest increase among states, and slightly above the U.S. at 1.0%. Net earnings drove income growth for Arizona in the first quarter, which is good news. Personal income increased 4.8% year-over-year for the state. 

The good news – Arizona moved up in the ranking of children’s well-being in the latest  Kid’s Count Data Book . The bad news – we went from 46 th  in 2015 to 45 th  in 2016, trading places with Alabama. Of the four areas Kid’s Count looks at, Arizona’s rank stayed the same in two (Education and Family and Community), improved in one (Economic Well-Being) and went down in one (Health). We stayed stable or improved in all areas of the Health category, but the rank moved down because other states made greater progress in one area that was unchanged for Arizona – that of teen drug/alcohol abuse. 

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.
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