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State budget revenue up $80M in August

Major economic indicators in Arizona point to a steady recovery, although some bumps remain.

Revenues in August grew by 8.6 percent, buoyed by strong showings in sales and individual income taxes.

Consequently, money that’s coming into Arizona’s coffers surpassed state spending.

General fund revenues are $79.6 million above the budget forecast for August, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee reported last week.

Meanwhile, the state’s job market also continues to brighten up.

Job gains typically occur in August, when classes resume.

For eight months in a row now, Arizona has seen year-over-year gains in employment.

And while most of the job gains occurred in the public sector, the private sector continued to show encouraging numbers.

More than 12,000 jobs were added by the private sector in August compared to the month before. JLBC said this is the biggest August private sector net job gain in five years.

Also significantly, August marked the second month of year-over-year growth in construction jobs.

To put things in perspective, these gains took place after 54 months of year-over-year losses in construction employment.

But Arizona is still a long way from recovering the 300,000 jobs it shed during the recession.

At the current growth rate, that will take years to accomplish, JLBC said.

The state’s unemployment rate now stands at 9.3 percent, which is still too high for a state where the typical jobless rate before this recent economic downturn hovered around 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the housing market remains wobbly, though the picture is no longer as bad as 2009.

Foreclosure notices are up in August compared to July. But pending foreclosures decreased.

Still, the number of pending foreclosures continues to influence home prices, JLBC said.

In metro Phoenix, for example, home sales are up compared to the year before, but prices are down.

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