Arizona economy posts big job gains

Arizona’s economy continues to post record gains and steam forward as an innovative powerhouse. 

The July 2021 employment report from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity revealed the state’s private sector added more than 16,000 new jobs in July, which is “the only time in the last ten years that Arizona has added jobs in the month of July,” said Patrick Ptak, the senior vice president of executive initiatives at the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Unemployment on the decline

Following a precipitous rise in unemployment in 2020, Arizona is now on track to hit pre-pandemic lows.

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, “Arizona jobs growth and recovery is outpacing the U.S. across every private sector.” While the American labor force is still below its peak in February of 2020, Arizona’s labor force is 1.3%, or 47,869 workers larger than it was in February 2020.

The professional and business services sector, leisure and hospitality, and the finance industry have seen large employment gains.

Geographical differences

While Arizona has seen jobs growth across the state, certain regions and cities have been impacted differently. Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Prescott and Flagstaff have experienced positive nonfarm jobs growth, while Sierra Vista, Douglas, Tucson, and Yuma have dipped.

Interestingly, from February of 2020 to July of 2021, only three economic regions have fully recovered from the pandemic’s effects on unemployment: Sierra Vista-Douglas, Lake Havasu City-Kingman, and Prescott.

Travel is back

The number of people traveling through airports is nearly back to its March 2020 high, signaling that people are flying again. 

Arizona’s Sky Harbor International Airport and Mesa Gateway airport generate tens of billions in economic impact for the state.

Despite the occasional business interruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s economy has proven resilient. Policymakers and elected officials are anxiously watching the spread of the Delta variant, however, and assessing its potential impact on the economy. 
For more resources on the vaccine and how and where to get vaccinated against COVID-19, visit

Joe Pitts

Joe Pitts is a born and bred Arizonan who formerly served as the program director at the Arizona Chamber Foundation. He graduated Arizona State University's Barrett, the Honors College in 2023 with a B.S. in Management and concurrent B.S. in Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

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