What’s the status of labor on Labor Day for Tucson and Arizona in 2022?

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 9:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As we approach Labor Day, 2022, just what is the status of labor in Tucson and Arizona? Good? Bad?

Tucson is struggling to get back to the number of jobs it had before the pandemic hit in February, 2020.

“Tucson is about 800 jobs shy of where we were in February 2020,” said George Hammond, the Director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona. “That’s about a 98% recovery.”

That’s on par with the rest of the nation but lags far behind the recovery in Phoenix which has seen 126% of its jobs come back.

“Arizona had regained the jobs that had been lost to the pandemic back in December of 2021,” said Doug Walls, the Director of Labor Market Information of the Office of Economic Opportunity.

But just because Tucson’s jobs recovery rate is not as fast as Phoenix doesn’t mean Tucson is a slouch when it comes to the jobs market.

“Tucson’s unemployment rate is at or near the lowest level we’ve ever seen in the data,” said Hammond.

So the state of the jobs market in Tucson and Arizona, as we enter Labor Day has to be described as some of the best in a very long time.

“What we’re seeing in Arizona is well rounded growth through a number of industry sectors and a number of regions around the state which is really a positive sign,” Walls said.

And one of those sectors is a surprise. A state which for years was cattle, copper and cotton, has seen a big upsurge in high tech manufacturing.

“So manufacturing here in Arizona is growing at a rate we haven’t seen in 30 years,” Walls said. “So we’re seen robust growth in manufacturing.”

That stands for Tucson as well which has seen a 5% growth in manufacturing year over year and adds to an impressive job growth just in July alone.

“The state’s job growth was really strong” Hammond said. “We added 23 almost 24,000 jobs over the month and that’s about four times normal job growth.”

And as the state adds jobs, wages are going up quickly as well, although not quite as fast as inflation.

Which means one of the advantages workers have this Labor Day that they’ve not had in the past, in order to beat inflation, ask for a raise or find another job which pays more. There’s plenty out there.