Tucson jobs market best in a decade

Tucson at 'full employment', best job market in 10 years

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The unemployment rate in Tucson has fallen to 4.1 percent, near full employment and better than the statewide average according to statistics released by the state today.

Than has job seekers at a big advantage right now.

37-year-old Tamara Marquez, a hostess and bartender, likes her prospects.

She was manning a computer at One Stop, a Pima County job training and placement program housed on West Ajo, searching for leads to a new job.

“I found 13 within a half hour of being here,” she said. “13 jobs that had openings for what I was looking for.”

That compares to a few years ago when she used One Stop but it took two weeks to find work.

It’s pretty much the same in many fields.

“Right now, I’ve not seen this, where everybody, everybody” said Nils Urman, One Stop’s business outreach director. “Whether it’s health care, construction, information technology, the service sector, or what ever it is, are looking at the same time.”

It’s that competition which has the city of Tucson working on an employee retention and hiring plan.

The city has announced it will give all 3,500 of its workers a $1,500 bonus on top of a 2 percent pay hike.

It will make the city more competitive with the private sector, which is also seeing an increase in wage growth because of the labor shortage and the increasing minimum wage laws.

Still, many companies are looking for specialized skills but because of the shortage some companies are willing to hire and train.

One of those is Morgan North, the owner and founder of Borderland Construction who has had to delay and slow down some projects because of a labor shortage.

“I could use 50 tomorrow and I’d like to have a 100,” he said. When asked if he could find them in this market his reply was a quick, “no.”

Still, the labor shortage should lead to a wage increase for most workers in most sectors.

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