Monday, June 6, 2022 / by Adam Donaldson-Moxley
The pandemic delivered a huge shock to the Tucson labor market, which lost 45,500 jobs from February to April 2020. As of March 2022, Tucson has added back 37,800 of those jobs for a replacement rate of 83.1%. Job recovery has varied across industries in Tucson with professional and business services, government, and leisure and hospitality the slowest to recover. In contrast, the trade, transportation, and utilities industry had gained over 7,500 jobs over their pre-pandemic peak.
Tucson’s employment mix is similar to the U.S. and state with a few notable exceptions. The share of jobs in government in Tucson was substantially higher given the presence of local military bases and the University of Arizona whose employees are included in state government. Tucson had much smaller shares of employment in manufacturing and the trade, transportation, and utilities industry when compared to the nation.
Tucson, and the nation, have posted low unemployment rates over the past year. As of March 2022, Tucson’s unemployment rate was 2.9%, which was below the state rate (3.3%) and the nation at (3.6%). The unemployment rate declines for two primary reasons: unemployed residents find jobs or the unemployed drop out of the labor force, perhaps because they are discouraged. Overall, Tucson’s unemployment rate has dropped primarily because unemployed residents have become employed.
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