TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona’s economy is rebounding nicely from the effects of the COVID pandemic. Industries are recovering and lost jobs are being restored. There are good moves—and bad moves you could make in the current economy.
Job numbers are one of the best barometers of whether an economy is rising or falling. Economist George Hammond of University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management says the June numbers just came in.
They show Arizona jobs up by 38,000—the best showing since we came out of stay-a- home orders a year ago.
He says, “And just to further put that in perspective, you know 38,000 jobs in one month is about six times our normal monthly job growth so June was a good month and in fact that puts us on track now to regain our pre-pandemic peak in October of this year.”
But Hammond says the job rebound is mostly the economy restoring jobs lost to the pandemic. We are still below our employment peaks.
The biggest boost is in travel and tourism but that industry took the biggest hit, so it has the biggest hole to climb out of. Hammond says tourism jobs are still about 40,000 below pre-pandemic levels.
Transportation and warehousing are strong and stayed strong through the pandemic as people staying at home bought more products and depended on someone to deliver them.
Hammond says inflation is a concern but a lot of it is from short supplies and high demand driving up prices. He expects that to subside a few months from now as supply chains catch up.
Soaring lumber prices were part of the reason home prices went up but the price of wood is beginning to fall now. Hammond expects high demand for homes will keep prices high and keep the cost of rent high too.
Hammond says you should try to avoid buying a new or used car right now. Short supplies drove their prices so high it’s better to wait if you can.
But there is a place where short supplies can help you get ahead. Workers are in short supply, and that could get you a pay hike.
Hammond says, “We are seeing wages rising relatively rapidly particularly in some of those industries that were hard hit during the pandemic. So, that’s good. It’s probably a good time to be looking around in terms of, you know, if you’re interested in making a career change, this might be a good time to do that because job growth is going to continue to accelerate, wages are likely to continue to rise.”
But Hammond says Arizona’s job market may not be quite as hot as some other states because a surge of people moved here during the pandemic and some of them are competing for jobs now.