The Arizona Department of Corrections needs to fill hundreds of jobs.

Pinal County’s jobless rate is close to its January numbers after ticking up slightly in July.

According to statistics released today by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate remained the same compared to June while Arizona’s rate grew from 5.9 percent to 6.1 percent.

In Pinal County, joblessness was at 6.9 percent in July. That was up from 6.5 percent in June and just under January’s 7 percent.

During the month, Arizona had a net loss of 7,200 jobs. The biggest losses were in education, which had a drop of 12,900, comprising most of the 13,500 government job losses. The largest gain in employment was in professional services, which picked up 3,700 jobs.

Pinal County’s available labor force shrank by almost 1,000 between the June and July reports, but the number of unemployed grew by about 500 people.

The Arizona Department of Corrections announced it has 539 positions open around the state, and nearly 300 in Pinal County. Arizona Workforce Connection will be hosting a “hiring event” for the Arizona Department of Corrections in September.

The majority of the DOC jobs are out of Florence, but there are opportunities for job seekers in many parts of Arizona. The event will be hosted at the Arizona Workforce Connection office at 1015 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande.

“[The event] will be on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” Arizona Workforce Connection business service liaison Linda Martinez said. “There are over 500 positions statewide and 289 positions in Florence.”

To be considered for a position, job seekers must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 21 years of age, have no felonies in their background and have a valid driver’s license. Applicants will also be subject to a comprehensive knowledge exam, background check, and pre-employment drug testing. All of which must be passed in order to be considered for a position.

However, if an applicant is chosen, they’ll have the opportunity to receive paid training, health and dental insurance, vacation and holiday pay, opportunities for retirement after 25 years and tuition assistance for those looking to go back to school. Other benefits include job stability, opportunities for advancement and higher salaries for more experienced officers.

Compared to July 2014, Arizona has had a net gain of 67,600 jobs.

There was a year-over-year jump of 6.5 percent in construction jobs in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Metropolitan Area, which includes Pinal County. Private-sector jobs have grown 0.1 percent month-to-month and 3.6 percent year-to-year.

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