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Employment

Construction has been a growing major sector in Arizona's employment. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Arizona lost 7,200 nonfarm jobs from April to May, but the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years.” — Adam Turk

The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity released the jobs report Thursday.

Compared to May 2017, the state added 70,700 total jobs. Economist Adam Turk said manufacturing, education and construction were drivers in job creation in May.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years,” Turk said.

There were 5,100 jobs added in the subsector of building construction, a 17.8 percent increase.

In particular, the construction subsector of specialty trades saw job growth up 9.1 percent compared to last May. In the United States, that number is 4.2 percent, reflecting the increased construction activity in Arizona.

Manufacturing has seen a recent upsurge in hiring. Overall, the sector grew 5.5 percent since last year and 1.3 percent since April. That is an increase of 8,900 jobs, the largest gain in 20 years.

Turk said manufacturing of computer and electric parts – “a sector where we, for the past several years, have seen job losses month over month” – has turned around since the final quarter of 2017 to post job growth. Its year-over-year increase was 9.7 percent.

The education and health services sector grew by 14,100 jobs over the year, the biggest increase in the state. Turk said that was primarily driven by additional education hires, possibly due to the state’s new education budget.

In Pinal County, the biggest employers were in the service industries, though that showed a month-to-month loss of 50 jobs. A number of sectors were down slightly in May compared to April, including manufacturing, business and professional services, hospitality trades and trade, transportation and utilities.

Construction jobs increased in Pinal County, as did government jobs and education.

Overall, the county’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent in April to 4.1 percent in May.

Construction employment in Arizona was back on the map in November.

Doug Walls, research administrator for the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, said the increase of 1,000 jobs was “an atypical change for November.” Many of those new jobs, he said, were in specialty trades and heavy or civil engineering.

Over the year, construction employment has improved 6.2 percent, a gain of 8,300 jobs and the largest growth rate among all job sectors. In Pinal County, construction employment reached a new high point for 2017 in November.

Statewide, building permits for new single-family homes are back to pre-recession levels. Maricopa’s home-building permits for November totaled 98, the highest November total since the depths of the recession. In November 2014, the total was as low as six.

The construction employment numbers in Arizona also benefited from highway construction projects.

Overall, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.5 percent in October to 4.3 percent in November. Pinal County’s unemployment went the opposite direction, increasing from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent.

Pinal’s workforce increased by 1,100 in November while the number of employed increased by just 993 people.

Service-providing industries continue to be the biggest employers in the state, employing 2.5 million. The state’s total labor force is 3.2 million.

Arizona netted 29,500 new jobs during the month. Most of the state’s job growth was in the Valley of the Sun. Tucson and Flagstaff, on the other hand, posted concerning numbers. Tucson had employment shrinking in seven of 10 sectors over the year. More immediately, over the month of November, Flagstaff saw all its sectors lose employment.

Walls said the state office is “not able to see the details” of the cause.

Employment in the sector of trade, transportation and utilities rose 2.9 percent during the month, the biggest percentage gain during the 30 days. The area with the next largest growth rate was professional and business services at 4.7 percent.

The information sector was flat during the month and saw a 12-month loss of 5.6 percent. Walls said the state was seeing job losses in data processing all year.



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Feliz Leyba (left) and Cassandra Brown.

Feliz Leyba has been promoted to manager of Convention Services for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. In her new position, Leyba will be responsible for building the department from the ground up. This is a new position at Harrah’s Ak-Chin as a result of the casino’s multi-million-dollar expansion, which includes the new convention center with over 18,000 square feet of rentable space, an additional 230 guest rooms, a spa and fitness center, additional restaurants and a multi-level parking structure.

Cassandra Brown joined the City of Maricopa as the Grants and Accounting coordinator Brown comes from the San Juan County Government in Farmington, New Mexico, where she served as a grants accountant. She also has experience working with tribal governments and speaks fluent Navajo. Brown will be responsible for researching grant opportunities and working with various departments through the grant application, monitoring and reporting process.


This item appears in the October issue of InMaricopa. If you have new hires, promotions or employee awards, let us know at News@InMaricopa.com.

By Ethan McSweeney

Maricopa job seekers may want to brush up their résumés.

IF YOU GO
Who: Approximately 50 employers
What: Job fair
When: July 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 N. Maricopa Road
How much: Free

Arizona@Work, the state’s workforce development initiative, will host its annual job fair at Harrah’s Ak-Chin on July 6. Nearly 50 employers will be on hand recruiting, including Maricopa Unified School District. They are looking to fill positions such as social workers, medical assistants, correctional officers, bartenders, youth advocates, claims specialists, sales representatives, law enforcement, heavy construction and food service.

“It’s a good variety of jobs,” said Linda Martinez, business service liaison for Arizona@Work in Pinal County.

Martinez said job seekers who plan to attend this year’s job fair should be “dressed for success,” so no shorts or flip-flops. Arizona@Work also offers help with résumés at its Business and Career Center in Casa Grande.

Last year’s job fair for Maricopa brought out 52 employers and about 300 job seekers. Martinez said at least 30 were hired as a result of the event.


This story appeared in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Arizona Workforce Connection, along with many partners, will host the Pinal County Community Job Fair at the Promenade Mall in Casa Grande on Feb. 17.

The event will feature more than 50 employers from Pinal County and five from Maricopa. Arizona Workforce Connection will offer a Job Fair Preparation Workshop on Feb. 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. in its offices at 1015 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande to help job seekers prepare for the event.

The job fair is set to last from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Suite 130 at the Promenade Mall at 1005 N. Promenade Parkway in Casa Grande. Anyone looking for work is encouraged to attend.

Available jobs include:

•    911 dispatcher
•    Administrative
•    Bank teller
•    Bartenders
•    Behavioral health paraprofessionals
•    Border patrol agents
•    Bus drivers
•    Caregivers
•    Case managers
•    Claims representatives
•    Collectors
•    Construction and/or roofing
•    Cooks
•    Correctional officers
•    Direct support professionals
•    Firefighter
•    Food service supervisor
•    General labor or skilled trade
•    Head lifeguard
•    Housekeeping
•    Instructors
•    Insulation installers
•    Inventory specialist
•    Leak survey technician
•    Lifeguard
•    Maintenance tech
•    Material handler
•    Operations engineering
•    Packers
•    Paraprofessional
•    Parks equipment mechanic
•    Patient registration
•    Peer support
•    Production
•    Receptionist
•    Records clerk (police department)
•    Registered nurse and licensed practical nurse
•    Satellite TV technician installer
•    Servers
•    Service representatives
•    Specialty instructor
•    Substance abuse counselor
•    Teachers
•    Telephone interviewer
•    Van drivers

Shamrock Farms in Stanfield is seeking seasonal employees to be tour guides and cashiers. Submitted photo

By Adam Wolfe

Arizona Workforce Connection will host hiring events for Shamrock Farms and Tractor Supply Distribution in September.

Shamrock Farms is looking for candidates with strong communication skills that work well with people to be part of their team of Farm Tour Guides and Farm Tour Cashiers. The positions are seasonal and expected to last from October 2015 to May 2016. The company will be conducting interviews for the open positions during AWC’s hiring event on Sept. 16.

“The positions are temporary and the hours are based on scheduled tours throughout the week,” AWC Business Service Liaison Linda Martinez said. “The candidates would definitely need to be flexible with their schedule.”

The event will take place on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arizona Workforce Connection offices at 1015 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are able to set up an interview time before the day of the event because the interviews will be set on a first come, first served basis.

“The interviews will be set in 15-minute intervals,” Martinez said. “Job seekers will need to contact AWC to find out how to get registered and get scheduled for an interview. If someone walks through our doors the day of the hiring event without a scheduled appointment, employers will usually see the candidates.”

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, strong verbal and written communication skills, work well with people and provide good customer service. In either job, workers may be required to move products around, so they are asked to be able to lift up to 50 pounds as well.

One week later, Tractor Supply Distribution will host a two-day event in hopes of finding material handlers to work at its location in Casa Grande. The event will once again be at the AWC offices in Casa Grande, and last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Sept. 22 and 23.

According to Martinez, Tractor Supply Distribution is looking to hire at least 60 people, but the number could be even higher if they meet with enough well qualified candidates. Just like the hiring event on the 16th, participants are able to register for the event ahead of time by contacting the AWC offices and speaking with an employment services specialist. Walk-ins will be welcome both days as well.

Ideal candidates will have a high school diploma or GED, be able to read and speak English, and perform basic math. Due to the nature of the job, candidates should also be able to lift between 50 and 100 pounds, stand, bend or squat for prolonged periods of time, and be comfortable with heights. Other job requirements will include the ability to use a bar code scanner, two-way radio, computer, lift truck and pallet jack, dock door leveler and a stretch wrap machine. A background check and drug test is required as well. For more information on the hiring events, contact Arizona Workforce Connection by calling (602) 542-2460 or visit www.arizonaworkforceconnection.com.