More out of work in county
KINGMAN - A new report from the Arizona Department of Commerce indicates that holiday hiring was not enough to keep Mohave County's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate from rising through October, even as the state unemployment rate fell during the same period.
Local seasonally-adjusted unemployment rose one-tenth a point to 10.9 percent in October, bucking the trend experienced by most other Arizona metro areas, which saw their rates fall. The unemployment rise comes despite an overall drop in the number of unemployed within the county, as well as a corresponding drop in the overall labor force.
Total employment in the Kingman-Lake Havasu Metropolitan Statistical Area fell by about 800 jobs in October, to 82,200 out of a total workforce of about 91,800. Non-farm private sector jobs actually saw some slight improvement for the period, however, with retail trade, financial activities and educational and health services each posting a gain of about 100 jobs apiece. All other private job sectors, as well as federal, state and local government, remained flat for the month.
October's numbers mark a continuation of the dismal holding pattern Mohave County's employment situation has been in for much of the last year, with seasonally-adjusted unemployment hovering just below 11 percent every month since February. The lone exception was in May, when the rate jumped to 11.8 percent, but it fell back to 10.8 percent the next month.
While most other major metropolitan areas in Arizona fared better in October than Mohave County did, their overall employment trend remains similar, with little overall movement over the past year. The statewide unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point in October to 9.5 percent, which is just below the 9.6 percent average of the last 10 months.
Coconino County, which is home to the Flagstaff MSA, may be the sole outlier, being the first county to drop below 8 percent unemployment since March. Flagstaff saw its rate fall to 7.9 from September's figure of 8.1 percent. Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott also saw their unemployment rates decline by a few fractions of a percent to 8.5, 8.3 and 9.7 percent, respectively, while Yuma, with its large transitory agricultural workforce, saw its unemployment rate balloon nearly two points to 25.8 percent, though such large swings are not unusual for that part of the state.
Arizona remains in step with the national unemployment rate, which spent its third straight month at 9.6 percent. Despite experiencing its first drop in five years, Nevada continues to hold the nation's highest unemployment rate at 14.2 percent, while North Dakota enjoys the lowest rate of just 3.7 percent.