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Arizona jobless rate drops in October to 9.5 percent

Arizona’s unemployment rate dropped in October to 9.5 percent, down from 9.7 percent in September, as retailers and other businesses added jobs at a clip that state economists called encouraging.

The state typically adds jobs in October as winter visitors return amid preparations for the holiday shopping season, but the addition of 27,400 jobs in October, or 1.1 percent, was the largest October employment gain since 2004, the Department of Commerce reported Thursday.

October was the third month in a row that the state added jobs after 30 consecutive months of losses, the department said. “Overall, Arizona’s employment situation is beginning to show indications of welcome improvements.”

Government added jobs but in a below-average gain, mostly in public education, but the private sector was the driving force for the overall increase, providing 93 percent of the additional jobs, the department said.

Ten of the 11 economic sectors added jobs, led by a 7,100-job increase recorded by the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Most of those gains were in retail trade.

The educational and health services sector added 6,400 jobs and construction followed with 5,100 additional jobs for that industry’s largest monthly gain since 2005. Information was the only sector to lose jobs.

Among the state’s metro areas, Phoenix’s October rate was 8.5 percent, down from 8.7 percent in September, and Tucson’s was 8.3 percent, down from 8.6 percent. Yuma’s rate increased to 25.8 percent from 23.9 percent. Flagstaff decreased to 7.9 percent from 8.1 percent, and Prescott dropped to 9.7 percent from 10 percent. Lake Havasu City-Kingman rose to 10.9 percent from 10.8 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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