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State sees robust revenue growth in March

The state posted another robust growth in revenue last month, another sign that the economy is getting healthier.

Year-to-date, revenues are 6.7 percent higher, according to a report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

There is good news elsewhere, as jobs are added at a healthy clip and house permitting activity is up.

The 6.7 percent growth translated to a $16 million increase in revenue above forecast.

Compared to last year, sales tax collections were up by 3.9 percent while corporate income tax collections grew by 33.6 percent.

Individual income taxes posted a 7.2 percent growth, although that’s still $13.9 million below forecast.

Meanwhile, permits for single-family and multi-family building increased in single and triple digits, respectively, for the three-month period through February.

The state also added nearly 19,000 jobs in March over February.

This increase is typical at this time of the year, but this was also the largest job gain since March 2006 and it represents more than 50 percent above the average increases in March for the past 10 years.

All major sectors in the state’s economy also added jobs and the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent, the JLBC report said.

In contrast, the jobless rate hovered at nearly 10 percent at the same time last year.

Budget analysts said while the outlook for jobs is “growing brighter, full recovery remains far ahead. They noted that Arizona still had 258,500 fewer jobs compared to December 2007.

Also, Arizona’s jobless rate exceeds the national average, which was 8.2 percent in March.

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