An increase of 18,900 jobs last month helped drop Arizona’s unemployment rate to 8.6 percent from 8.7 percent, the Arizona Department of Administration said today.
That was the largest over-the-month gain since 2006 and higher than the average 12,300 recorded monthly from 2002 through 2011.
Arizona’s total number of non-farm jobs in March grew by 47,000 over the same period a year earlier, a gain of almost 2 percent.
Especially strong gains were reported in the leisure and hospitality and construction industries, thanks to such factors as spring training and building of a new Intel plant in Chandler and outlet malls in Glendale and the Gila River Indian Reservation, said Aruna Murthy, an economist with the department of administration.
Although the state’s unemployment rate is above the U.S. rate of 8.2 percent, she said the leisure and hospitality, health care, and construction sectors are adding jobs at a faster pace in Arizona than the nation.