According to figures released by the Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, adjusted for seasonality by the Cochise College Center for Economic Research, Cochise County’s unemployment rate in August jumped from 7.8 to 8.2 percent. The monthly rate was down from 8.9 percent a year ago.

Statewide, the unemployment rate stabilized at 8.3 percent in August. The statewide rate was down from 9.5 percent in August 2011. The national unemployment rate fell from 8.3 to 8.1 percent in August, down from 9.1 percent a year ago according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

City-level seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for August were: Benson, 14.2 percent; Bisbee, 9 percent; Douglas, 12.4 percent; Huachuca City, 11.8 percent; Sierra Vista, 8.2 percent; Tombstone, 5.6 percent; and Willcox, 12.3 percent. EPS estimates for cities in Cochise County, except Sierra Vista, are based on a model that pegs city employment to county-level employment based on data from Census 2000. The model does not pick up changes at the city level since 2000 that differ from county-level trends. CER research based on more recent data suggests unemployment rates in Benson, Douglas, Huachuca City, and Willcox are lower than estimated by EPS, while rates in Bisbee and Tombstone are higher. Sierra Vista’s unemployment rate is estimated by BLS using more recent data than those used by EPS for the other cities.

In August, Cochise County saw a seasonally expected gain of 850 nonfarm jobs, all of which were in the government sector. A total of 800 jobs were added in state and local government with most of those tied to annual turnover in the county’s school districts. New district employees hired over the summer see their contracts begin in August with the beginning of the school year.  Federal government jobs were up by 50 from July to August.

Within the county’s private sector, the number of jobs in all industries stabilized from July to August. These include the goods-producing industries of construction and manufacturing, and the private service-providing industry groupings of trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; educational and health services; financial activities; leisure and hospitality; information; and other services. Numbers for the county’s construction industry include mining jobs. The educational and health services industry does not include public education jobs such as those in public school districts, University of Arizona South, and Cochise College, which are classified as state and local government jobs.

The total number of nonfarm jobs countywide was up by 25 in the 12 months ended in August for a 12-month job growth rate of 0.1 percent. Government jobs were up by 75 for job growth of 0.6 percent. The number of federal government jobs grew by 50 in the 12 months ended in August for growth of 0.8 percent. State and local government gained 25 jobs for a 12-month job growth rate of 0.4 percent.  

Private sector jobs countywide were down by 50 in the 12 months ended in August for job growth of -0.2 percent. Within the private sector, the goods producing subsector gained 75 jobs for growth of 3.8 percent. Construction gained 50 jobs for 12-month job growth of 3.5 percent. Manufacturing gained 25 jobs in the 12 months ended in August for growth of 4.8 percent.

The county’s private service-providing subsector saw a net loss of 125 jobs in the 12 months ended in August for job growth of -0.6 percent. Within this subsector, the trade, transportation, and utilities industry grouping added 25 jobs for growth of 0.4 percent. The educational and health services and other services industry groupings also gained 25 jobs each for job growth rates of 0.6 and 2.7 percent, respectively. Leisure and hospitality gained 50 jobs for growth of 1.3 percent. Professional and business services lost 225 jobs for job growth of -4.4 percent. The number of jobs in financial activities fell by 25 for 12-month growth of -2.6 percent. Jobs in the information industry stabilized in the 12 months ended in August.

Nonfarm job numbers for Cochise County do not include active duty military personnel, but do include Fort Huachuca’s civilian workers and government contractors. The calculation of the unemployment rate includes active duty military personnel, as well as agricultural workers. Nonfarm job numbers are rounded to the nearest 25.

(Dr. Robert Carreira is director of the Center for Economic Research at Cochise College. If you have any questions on the economy, please contact the CER at (520) 515-5486 or by email at cer@cochise.edu. Check out the CER’s website at www.cochise.edu/cer. )

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