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Arizona’s unemployment rate lowers to 9.3 percent in April

Arizona’s unemployment rate dipped to 9.3 percent in April, but that good news apparently comes with a price: The state’s social-services agency said the decrease could trigger an earlier end to jobless benefits.

The Department of Commerce reported Thursday that the state’s economy added 17,200 nonfarm jobs in April as the unemployment rate dropped from 9.5 percent in March. It was at 9.6 percent the three months before then.

The April state unemployment rate of 9.3 percent will be used to calculate a new three-month average for the state.

As of April, approximately16,000 people received the federally funded extended benefits now in jeopardy, according to the state Department of Economic Security.

DES spokesman Steve Meissner said the likely result of the new average will be that benefits will be reduced to a maximum of 79 weeks from the current 99.

Confirmation of the benefits change isn’t likely for about a month and implementation details have yet to be worked out, he said.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration and legislators have discussed the possibility of changing the state’s “look back” formula so that those who receive extended benefits would still get them.

That would involve changing state law so the current employment rate is compared with one of the previous three years instead of one of just the past two years. No action was taken during the regular session that ended in April as lawmakers focused on other topics, including the state’s budget shortfall.

Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said Tuesday the topic was discussed during a meeting with Gov. Jan Brewer and House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, on possible special session topics.

Pearce said no decision was made during the meeting, but he expressed coolness toward making the possible change.

“I have natural concerns about paying people to sit at home,” he said.

House Democrats in April called for action on the issue.

“Choosing not to make this fix could mean the difference between a laid-off middle-class father being unable to put food on the table and finding a job,” Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, said then.

In its monthly unemployment report, the Commerce Department said 10 of 11 sectors added jobs in April and that most sectors’ increases were above historic averages.

Nearly all of the new jobs were in the private sector, the department said.

The biggest gains were reported in construction (3,900 jobs), educational and health services (3,400) and trade, transportation and utilities (2,900), the department said.


  1. ‘Pearce said no decision was made during the meeting, but he expressed coolness toward making the possible change.

    “I have natural concerns about paying people to sit at home,” he said.’

    Pearce knows nothing about what is going on out there! Of course he doesn’t care because he has a job! It’s that sort of mentality that hurts job seekers and the long term unemployed at all turns. We have to deal with the people who think we are lazy, who think because they see some job ads everyone should be able to have a job, with people who think we are on vacation and so on and so forth. That people in Pearce’s position have thoughts like this, and make comments like this is irritating and harmful.

    You are not ‘paying people to sit at home’, you are giving people who are searching for, and can not find a job a safety net while they continue to look. Many long term unemployed have filled out literally hundreds of job applications and received no offers of employment. Our credit ratings have taken a hit because we can’t find a job, and that in turn hurts us in the job hunt because many positions check your credit. Gas prices are way up making it harder for us to continue searching for employment. Some employers won’t even talk to you unless you already have a job, which makes no sense. Some employers feel if you are unemployed you must have done something wrong, even though many of us are out of work through no fault of our own. The longer you are unemployed the harder it is to find a job. I want a job, I have been looking, and I am tired, frustrated, broke and furious with attitudes like Pearce’s. You don’t want to pay me to ‘sit at home’, then try creating some jobs intend of making stupid comments.

  2. I have a bachelors degree and have been looking for a better job for three years.
    I apply for jobs every week and have had one phone interview and one face to face in 5 months. When I ask I have been told there are an avereage of 50 applications per job. I have applied out of my field at Target and Costco just to have something. I have been told I’m under qualified and over qualified.
    My whole life has taken a hit. My credit, my kids, myself esteem. I put in 16 and 18 hour days to go back to school while working full time and the last three jobs (Two at half the pay) I have had I have lost because the business went under. (20 years at one.) I personally think it is easier to go to work everyday than apply for help. Let alone have to listen to ignorant people like Pearce.

  3. Someone should kick Russell Pearce in the a##!

  4. Unemployment strikes individuals hard. Until one has been in the shoes it is very easy to point fingers and be crude. Have you ever had a job for 15 years you thought was stable, only to find it pulled out from underneath you. This is the thing folks…Instead of Americans bashing other good valued Americans for said rediculous measures like collecting extended benefits in difficult times, why don’t you stand by us and say wait a minute…There is something really wrong here, the Federal Government can bail out banks with billions of dollars and Fannie and Sallie etc but they can not help the citizens that actually pay taxes while getting bent over from their bank only to get bailed out. Pearce you should be ashamed of yourself for that comment. Hopefully you will never get reelected and get to taste this ****** American pie. Its time to support your fellow Americans people and quit taking the side of the government which will screw you out of your next banana sandwich when it gets hungry enough…I promise.

  5. This is just absolutely absurd!!! The unemployment rate of 9.3% is still very high in Az and it probably will have gone up after May.Have you people been watching the national news just of recent Mr. Pearce??? Look in the paper in Tucson and online and see all of the jobs there are too be gotten!!!Practically nilch Mr. Pearce!!!We are heading for a double dip recession and things are getting much worse once again across the country!!!AZ is one of the lowest paying states as it stands, in the entire country of what they pay for unemployment!!! $240 a week is the max you can get and you can barely put food on the table and pay the bills w/ that!I have been out of work for almost a year now and still have no prospect of getting a job! I have been frustrated too say the least, and very depressed about my entire situation!!!I don’t have any health insurance either!Now the state is going too end our extended benefits program and shorten them!This is just incredible that we should have too endure this kind of hardship,during one of if not the longest recessions in U.S. history, and Mr.Pearce has the audacity too state that he doesn’t want too pay people too sit @ home??? You need too be in our shoes and suffer for awhile Mr. Pearce when we can’t even makes ends meet w/ what we’ve been receiving as it is ,and now it’s being taken away from us!!! You are just following the other few states that want too screw the american people out of what they deserve and have coming, and have worked for when they had a job and shorten or end their benefits!!!Wake up Jan Brewer,and Mr Pearce!!! Im ready too go throw up !!!I’m sick of Az government and legislation!!! All you people want to do is tax us more!!! Looks like I will be begging on a corner sometime in the near future and have too pan handle too try and survive!!! I’m beside myself!!! I will be writing too Sen McCain, and Sen Kyl too do something about this immediately!!! This is truly unreal!!! Wake up and smell the roses!

  6. By the way the national unemployment figures also just came out ! Which are 9.1% so our states is above the national average!!! All of these firgures we are given probably aren’t accurate anyway!!! The unemployment figures are in all probablity much higher then the statisitics show, not just locally on a state basis, but nationally as well!!!Extended benefits must be continued for all of the people that deservedly have them coming and rightfully so!!!

  7. What jobs are you kidding me!! You people can bail out these big corporations that bonus their employees!!! Who get to take vacations that none of us in our lifetime will ever go on. Which is what they got in trouble for in the first place. What about us that have worked our entire adult lives and now have to feed our family with the little money that unemployment gives us and now you want to cut because it is below 9.3%!! Maybe you should recheck the stats instead of telling people you do not want to pay them to sit at home!!! More people in this state are losing jobs daily so again tell me what jobs are there to get. I have been on interviews and sent out over 500 resumes in the past two years and have only gotten one phone call!! So what do you think about that douche bag Pearce!! You steal money from the Fiesta Bowl and still get to be in office really?????? Back in the old days you would have been hung for the crimes that you have committed along with the rest of the others in office. How about my family moves in with you and you can support my family of 5 and the rest of the 15,000 other people in this state. Thanks for nothing!!!

  8. Oh, and another thing. if any of us normal working class people committed the crimes u, Wiener, and all the other government crooks like u commit on a daily basis we would get arrested and more than likely do some serious time behind bars. So I want to know why none of you are in jail for your crimes. since you don’t care about all the people who’s lives you are messing with, then we say down with all of you. Why don’t you try looking for a regular job in this economy. But then again you are probably living comfortable with the money you stole from the Fiesta Bowl along with all of your other illegal endeavor’s. Stupid, greedy _ _ _ holes like u should be locked up with all the other criminal’s. You say none of us unemployed are trying to find job’s, then you have obviously never spent any time out here in the real world. I’m a carpenter and haven’t been able to find a job in over 2 years. I also have friends who have college degrees and can’t even get a job at Taco Bell. So why don’t you take all that bull **** you are saying and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

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