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Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
10:10 PM Thu, Dec. 13th

Unemployment down, but job losses loom

KINGMAN - April looks to have been Kingman's best month this year for employment numbers, according to a preliminary report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but new industry numbers from May suggest the trend may have already reversed itself.

The unemployment rate for the Kingman-Lake Havasu statistical metropolitan area fell to 8.9 percent in April. That's down from 9.5 percent in March, which tied January for the area's highest monthly unemployment rate since February 1994, when the rate peaked at 10.1 percent.

The lower rate, however, remains well above the 5.5 percent it was at this time last year.

And while the BLS won't release the local unemployment rate for May until June 30, it has released new raw numbers that show employment drops in several fields.

Total non-farm employment in Mohave County for May stood at 48,100, a drop of about 500 from the previous month and a 9 percent drop from the same time last year.

While most industries stayed static, the trade, transportation and utilities industry shed about 100 jobs, as did the professional and business services sector. Government proved the hardest hit, however, axing about 300 positions.

Year-over-year, however, government remains the only sector to post a net gain in employment, rising just 1.2 percent over last year's level. Most other sectors continue to observe double-digit percentage losses, and construction remains the hardest hit, with roughly a quarter of its workforce still MIA from last May.

The professional services and financial sectors also remain more than 10 percent below last year's employment level.

The Kingman unemployment rate has tacked fairly closely to the national unemployment rate, which currently stands at 9.4 percent, the highest since August 1983.

Arizona's rate remains below the national rate, at 8.2 percent, though it's also the highest it's been since August 1983.

Michigan retains the nation's highest unemployment rate, a staggering 14.1 percent, contributed to in no small part by the recent collapse of two of the big three American automakers headquartered there. Nebraska and North Dakota, meanwhile, have weathered the ongoing recession better than most, with their unemployment rates sitting at 4.4 percent each.