Arizona employment ticks up as more people go out to eat

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

Arizona’s jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a point in January, helped in part by more people being willing to go out to eat and drink.

New figures from the state Office of Economic Opportunity show that employment at bars and restaurants ticked up by 900 over December levels. By contrast, that sector typically loses about 1,300 jobs this time of year.

The drop in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 6.7% also was aided by a continued strong showing in employment in transportation and warehousing as Arizonans — and people across the country — continue to move away from shopping at traditional retailers and instead find comfort in clicking on what they want and having it delivered to their door.

Doug Walls, the agency’s labor market information director, acknowledged at least some of that is due to COVID-19 as people found themselves unable or unwilling to go shopping. In fact, there was a sharp spike in the months immediately following the start of the pandemic, with the share of retail sales in e-commerce jumping two full percentage points, to 16.1%

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