Local unemployment unchanged in April

KINGMAN - Despite the conclusion of a 12-week series of job fairs in Kingman and Lake Havasu City, Mohave County's unemployment rate failed to drop in April, according to a new report published by the Arizona Department of Commerce.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the Lake Havasu-Kingman metropolitan statistical area stood firm at 10.8 percent in April, unchanged from March and only a tenth of a percent down from the same time last year.

The Kingman-Lake Havasu MSA continues to maintain one of the highest municipal unemployment rates in the state, second only to Yuma's, where the frequently shifting agricultural workforce has kept the unemployment rate well above 20 percent for the last several years.

It's not all bad news, however.

Mohave County actually experienced a net gain in jobs during April, albeit a small one and not enough to outweigh seasonal adjustments. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by about 300 jobs to 46,800.

Broken down by industry, the private sector fared better than government, with service-oriented jobs claiming the biggest gains. The leisure and hospitality sector added about 200 jobs in April, while the information and professional/business services sectors each added 100.

Local and state governments, which include public education facilities, also posted a slight gain of about 100 jobs. This was counterweighed by a 200-job loss in the federal government sector, likely due to the expiration of temporary jobs associated with the U.S. Census. All other service-oriented sectors remained flat in April, as did goods-producing sectors including mining, manufacturing and construction.

While the unemployment rate remains high in Mohave County, the actual number of employed persons has risen steadily for each of the last three months, adding about 1,000 non-farm workers since January. For now, January remains the low point for local employment since the nationwide recession began in December of 2007.

Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of one point in April, to 9.5 percent, making Arizona one of 34 states to see a drop in unemployment for April. The state continues to tack slightly below the nationwide unemployment rate, which rose .2 points in April to 9.9 percent.

Michigan continues to hold the nation's highest unemployment rate at 14 percent, with Nevada just behind it at 13.7 percent. North Dakota remains the most gainfully-employed state, with unemployment at just 3.8 percent.